Celebrating our 2023 Graduates

Marine Biology Major Will Travel to Antarctica as Part of Graduate Studies

By Melanie Thibeault
Teagan Bellitto

Teagan Bellitto ’23, a Marine Biology and Environmental Chemistry double major and Sustainability Studies minor, will attend Texas A&M University for a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography. Bellitto was awarded a merit fellowship and graduate assistantship in a lab that researches ocean biogeochemistry and how climate change influences ice formation in the Southern Ocean. She will begin her graduate work with a research cruise to Antarctica this fall.  

Four Years of Hands-On Training: “I had a great experience here. I worked in the Wet Lab all four years, primarily with husbandry and general caretaking of the fish and shrimp. I also tested the water quality. The Wet Lab is primarily for undergraduate students. Other schools have similar setups but for graduate students. This is a unique opportunity that sets Roger apart. I practically live in the Marine and Natural Sciences building. It’s solidified the path I want to go down.”  

NASA-Funded Research: “I’m going to Antarctica to track trace metals in icebergs, which is similar to research I’ve done at RWU. I’m really excited about it. (Stephen) O’Shea has been my research advisor. Last summer, I received funding from the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium and worked with him on a project comparing Martian soil simulant to sediment from Mount Hope Bay. I learned how intensive research is and that things don’t always go your way. We had to rework samples a few times, and I got familiarized with the instrumentation. It’s definitely useful going forward in a research field.”  

Summer Camp Sealed the Deal: “When I was a sophomore in high school, I attended RWU’s Marine Biology summer camp to see if I wanted to commit to Marine Biology as a field. We got to go out on the boat, do fieldwork and lab work, and tour the facilities. It affirmed that I love Marine Biology and made me really like Roger and the program.”  

Bellitto, of Oradell, N.J., served as president of the Marine Science club and was a member of the Science Alliance, Society of Women Engineers, and in the Tri Beta Honors Society.  

Every spring, as Commencement nears, RWU spotlights members of the graduating class. Suggestions are welcome. Email: stories@rwu.edu 

Celebrating our 2023 Graduates