Students in the first-year seminar course, “Lobster Tales,” got a close-up glimpse into the fishing industry during a class trip to New Bedford. Dr. Eduardo Perez, assistant professor of sociology, traveled with his students to Oceans Fleet Fisheries, the nation’s largest producer of fresh North Atlantic sea scallops, to tie classroom learning into real-life experiences. From this outing, the university is now working toward partnering with Oceans Fleet for upcoming internship opportunities.
“At BSU, we actively seek to partner with the Southeastern Massachusetts community,” said Dr. Perez. “So, I made it a point to visit the Whaling Museum in the New Bedford’s historic seaport area, and saw countless fishing boats docked at the harbor. I surfed online, and hit Oceans Fleet’s website.”
Those enrolled in the seminar class were able to connect their coursework to what they saw and did during the Oceans Fleet Fisheries visit. The experience not only made them aware of industry-related issues close to home, but also allowed them to understand the operation of fisheries more clearly. Through meeting employees at Oceans Fleet, students lived the life of production associates for a day, wearing lab coats, protective glasses, and hairnets.
“To conclude the tour, we were asked to select, and keep as many scallop shells from a basket, as we liked,” recalled Dr. Perez.
Looking ahead, future Lobster Tales courses will have the chance to continue to learn about the seafood market. Dr. Perez believes that students are up for the adventure based on the feedback he has received. This off-campus excursion allows students to explore possible career paths, gather information about gendered scallops and, most importantly, gain knowledge and respect for the local industry.
“I am fortunate to be with students, colleagues, and administrative bodies who support and encourage building bridges with residents in our local communities,” said Dr. Perez. (Story by Michelle Hacunda, ’12, University News)