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Aquaculture Heroes: Feed the Fish...Feed the World!

--from "A Fish for All Seasons"  (Inside HCC, Fall 2009)

Hillsborough Community College (HCC) and the University of Florida (UF) recently wrapped up a year’s worth of aquaculture education and outreach throughout the state of Florida. As part of a larger collaborative effort sponsored by the Florida Aquaculture Review Council, an aquaculture component will be integrated into the Science curriculum of many Florida high schools and elementary schools. In order for this to succeed, both groups collaborated with Florida education teachers, researchers, and curriculum specialists to create an educational tool which will meet or exceed established Sunshine State Standards in Science education as well as provide students with an interesting look into the world of fish farming.  “We were proud to be asked by the Florida Aquaculture Review Council to participate in the effort,” said Dr. Craig Kasper, manager for the aquaculture program at HCC. “Laying the science foundation for students using this method is a great way to link many scientific principles within one discipline. It also helps HCC’s program in a round-about way.” 

The aquaculture program at HCC provides what could be the next step in a hands-on education for some students who will use the skills and concepts they learn as an essential link to higher education. “Several schools we interacted with during summer workshops are also in the process of starting small-scale aquaculture operations themselves,” said Dr. Kasper. “Those same schools have contacted me on several occasions for advice or to request articulation agreements with HCC.  Either way it’s a win-win for everyone involved and a win for aquaculture!”

As a result of the new articulations, in which students may earn several hours of college credit toward an associate in science degree in aquaculture at HCC, student enrollment in the program will likely increase in the next several years. More students will mean that new opportunities for expansion will need to be considered to meet the need.

Dr. Kasper was in good spirits over the possibility to train more students. “We spent the spring semester conducting an academic review of the aquaculture program. The review panel agreed that increasing articulations with ‘feeder’ schools was necessary for growth. This type of collaborative work brings students to the program at HCC and will help us put more aquaculturists out there where they are needed.”


Aquaculture News:  HCC Aquaculture in China

-from "What’s “fin” Your Future?" --Inside HCC Spring 2009  christy creamer

It's a safe bet that the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Aquaculture Program is all about the students, their retention and success!  Without students and a common purpose we wouldn’t exist.  Aquaculture is one of those unique “go-anywhere-do-anything fields.”  It can lead you into some pretty amazing places and expose you to stuff you’ve never been exposed to before (or in my case since).  That being said, I’d like to spotlight a recent success in HCC Aquaculture ‘fish-tory’


Christine, a former student, entered the HCC Aquaculture program three years ago and admitted she had no prior fish knowledge or fish experience.   However, during the two years we instructed her at HCC, she gained enough fish knowledge to not only graduate with an A.S. degree, but also participate in three hands-on internships (She’s currently competing for a fourth with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Stock Enhancement and Research Facility, SERF).  That in itself is a story worth telling, but it doesn’t end there.In 2008, she was accepted to the Marine Science program at Eckerd College, turning down an offer to attend the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami, FL.  She will soon graduate with her B.S. in Marine Science.  Recently she was awarded a fully funded, eight week International Research Experiences for Students internship  at Xiamen University, China, courtesy of the National Science Foundation.   Upon her return she will present her experiences to the Pinellas County school system.  When I asked her what she did to get it she replied:I have noticed… in a lot of situations like scholarships … students do not bother if it requires a little foot work, or they are just too scared to try. I still got the internship even though I am new, no one knows me and there are probably kids who have more experience....”  She confided that she was excited and a little nervous about the trip.  However, in that moment too she realized that it all began at HCC. She also encouraged me to keep telling students about opportunities!   Good job Christine!!  Good luck and future success!


Aquaculture Students at AES, Apopka, FL.

AES crew visit 

Special thanks and appreciation to Amy Riedel, et. al at Aquatic Ecosystems for hosting our visit and being generous with their time and knowledge about the business end of aquacutlure.


-Fishheads '09


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