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Li Cohen | White County High School

Cohen dives into environmental work

POSTED: May 12, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Li Cohen used to hate science.

But this summer the White County High School student will be spending a month researching the environmental effects a local dump has on the marine wildlife there.

“It used to be my worst subject,” Cohen said. But when she took a semester of zoology, she realized that’s the field she wants to work in.

“Being on the water, it feels more at home to me, and quite frankly I don’t have the patience to be sitting in an office,” she said.

Cohen will be in the Virgin Islands for one month starting July 1, working with a university there to do the study. Her mother has lived there for eight years and played a large role in setting the plans in motion.

Cohen had to come up with a project idea, and said she wanted to focus on the environment after doing a similar study in her Advanced Placement biology class, looking at environmental effects on brine shrimp.

“I’m really interested in how environmental factors and the daily habits of people can harm our environment,” Cohen said.

"And I just figured it’d be a really good opportunity to get firsthand experience with it and be able to share that information with other people so they can realize just what is going on.”

Cohen will also work to make brochures and other educational materials on what she finds.

Another part of her education, though, will be earning her captain’s license. Her mother is a charter boat captain and will help her log hours. She hopes to get the license by the end of next summer, which will help her as she pursues a degree in marine biology.

She plans to major in biology at the Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before pursuing a doctorate in marine biology.

She’s no stranger to the water. This past summer she sailed with her mom from Virginia to New York. This will be her first time visiting the Virgin Islands, though.


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