July 29, 2019

An on-going partnership between Hampden-Sydney College and the Hatteras Island Ocean Center has evolved into a commitment to manage the facility, providing unique experiential learning opportunities on North Carolina’s beautiful Outer Banks.

Eight Hampden-Sydney students are spending the summer as interns with the Hatteras Island Ocean Center, supporting wildlife conservation and cultural preservation on the island. According to Amy Thompson, director of the ocean center, “Our Hampden-Sydney students are driven and motivated. In addition to their work at the center, all are working on independent projects that serve the Hatteras Island community and align with their individual career goals and interests.”

Students’ individual research projects range from ecological topics—oyster bed restoration, bat conservation, and native plant diversity on Hatteras Island—to education and nonprofit management—revamping ocean center exhibits, marketing the center online and within the local tourist industry, and developing a new business plan for the center. From economics to government to biology, students are using their Hampden-Sydney coursework to find solutions to real-world problems.

  • Hatteras Island Nature Center facility

    The beautiful Hatteras Island Ocean Center is now managed by Hampden-Sydney College.

  • Students on kayaks in the marsh

    Throughout the summer, H-SC interns lead daily educational programs, including kayak tours of tidal creeks and the Pamlico Sound and nature tours of the salt marsh.

  • Interns banding terns on the beach at Hatteras Island

    Jonathan Abkemeier ’20, Tyler Puhlick ’21, and Jacob Whitney ’21 volunteer on Bigfoot Island with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, placing identification bands on Royal and Sandwich Tern chicks.

  • Interns rounding up terns on the beach at Hatteras Island

    Interns round up terns on the beach. Their research efforts will help scientists better understand the species and manage their population.

  • Interns holding a pelican on the beach at Hatteras Island

    Billy French '22 handles a juvenile brown pelican—in partnership with Audubon North Carolina, Hatteras interns place unique identification numbers on Brown Pelican chicks.

  • Interns holding a pelican on the beach at Hatteras Island

    The project helps scientists monitor bird populations and provides unique opportunities for interns to see colonial nesting birds up close.

  • Intern showing a crab to children at Hatteras Island

    An intern leads a scavenger hunt in the salt marsh in search of plants, birds, crabs, snails, and fish.

  • Intern teaching to children about bats at Hatteras Island

    Jacob Whitney ’21 shares his knowledge of bats with visitors at the Hatteras Island Nature Center.

  • Students jumpung on the beach at Hatteras Island

    Hampden-Sydney students will continue to benefit from year-round, hands-on conservation and non-profit management internship opportunities while living on and protecting beautiful Hatteras Island.