Summer Scholars Program

Summer Scholars Program

By Lauren Comander

Summer Scholars Program

By Lauren Comander
Making a splash – from SSP alumna to Marine Biology major and environmental activist.

Delaney Reynolds always thought she wanted to follow in her parents’ footsteps and attend college at the University of Miami. But it was getting her feet wet studying marine biology at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science during the 2015 Summer Scholars Program for high school students that crystallized her goal of becoming a four-year ‘Cane.

“The classes were amazing,” Reynolds says. “I loved the teachers, and the TAs were super helpful. It was literally a real college experience as a high-schooler! It’s great for people who are thinking about attending UM or are trying to decide what they want to study.”

Though Reynolds lived at home and commuted to campus for the three-week summer program, she enjoyed organized social mixers with the other high school students, as well as time in the dorms and at a nearby Starbucks hanging out and studying. When she applied for admission to the University of Miami, Reynolds was thrilled to interview with one of her Summer Scholars teachers.

Now, she’s a UM freshman pursuing a double major in marine science and biology – a path made easier by the six credits she earned during the summer program, which also included fulfilling the class requirements for Introduction to Marine Biology.

Reynolds’ childhood inspired her dream of becoming a marine biologist. Splitting her time between her hometown of Miami and her family’s Florida Keys vacation home, “I grew up around the water and in the water,” she says, “and I’ve always had a love of nature and marine ecosystems and environments.”

The Summer Scholars Program allowed her to explore both the field and the University in depth. The daily lectures at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (located on Biscayne Bay) gave marine biology summer students a taste of everything from meteorology and oceanography to biology and biomedicine. The daily labs, meantime, took students into the field. One afternoon, they counted species in a park and wrote up lab reports with their findings; another afternoon was spent tracking turtles. Reynolds swam with dolphins in Key Largo and tagged sharks with the Rosenstiel School’s marine conservation program.

Earlier this year, Reynolds landed an internship in the University’s shark lab, where she works alongside a fellow Summer Scholars alumnus. “We’ve been catching up and talking about the experiences we had!” she says.

She’s also making a splash off campus, running a nonprofit called The Sink or Swim Project, which educates people about climate change and sea level rise. Inspired by an article she read about solar laws in San Francisco, Reynolds recently worked with South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard to pass a law that was enacted on July 18, 2017, requiring newly constructed homes to install the maximum amount of solar power possible.

Between her strong start in the Summer Scholars Program and her more recent successes, it’s clear that this budding marine biologist’s future is bright and sunny.

About the University of Miami Summer Scholars Program

The University of Miami Summer Scholars Program gives current high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to earn college credit and explore college life during three summer weeks living on campus at the University of Miami.

Applications are currently being accepted for the for the next Summer Scholars Program session starting July 7, 2018. High school sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply by the March 1st priority deadline.