Student Profile: Meet Will Eppell

Meet Will Eppell

Meet Will Eppel

Will Eppell is a Junior Marine Environmental Science major from Belvidere, New Jersey.

Tell us about your major.

I’m studying Marine Environmental Science. I always like to say that it’s a smaller, relatively unknown program with amazing students and even more amazing staff. What’s unique about MES is that it doesn’t just focus on science like you would expect. While we do learn about biology, chemistry, oceanography and meteorology, we also cover things like environmental pollution, environmental law and environmental impacts.

Why did you choose this program?

I’m in this major because I had Dr. Olszewski for chemistry. Originally, I had come to Maritime to study Naval Architecture and get an engineering license. After my first year of engineering went poorly, I became increasingly open to other options. After Dr. O gave me that initial nudge, I tried out MES for a semester and it was all history from there. I fell in love.

What do you like most about the program?

We’re a small major, and I know just about every person in the group. If one of us is having issues in organic chemistry or something, we all get together and help that person out.

Tell us about your internship.

I loved every second of my internship with the U.S. Geological Society and I would definitely do it again. I spent time on three different vessels in the Great Lakes. Each boat had a crew of about nine people. They took me through daily operations like gill netting, trawling or using an ROV.

The crews were really easy going and they taught me a lot. In the beginning, I was really worried that I didn’t have enough education to keep up with the science but it turns out I did. From there, I got to learn even more.

What did you learn on your internship?

I got to be involved with the research itself, crane operations, anchoring and I learned about steering on a boat much smaller than the training ship Empire State VI. When you’re at the helm of the Empire State, you’re steering on a calm, straight course. With this, you’re a 100-foot vessel on Lake Superior with 20-foot waves and more wind than you can imagine. Also, the fog is so thick that you regularly can’t see off the bow. You have to be watching everything intently. It feels like you need 18 eyes up there but you look around and it’s just you. It was much more of an adventure.

What do you want to do after graduation?

I really want to work in research. I have the option to ship out and pay off my loans or work towards a master’s or a Ph.D. in research. My dream situation would be to ship out with a company that would help fund my education.