The Charger Blog

Marine Biology Major Hopes to Foster Connection Between Commercial Fishing Industry and Policymakers

For Samantha Alaimo ’21, her lifelong passion for marine biology has taken her all the way from a small lake in Pennsylvania to a leading laboratory for marine science education, an opportunity made possible by devoted University of New Haven benefactors.

October 25, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Adam Caress, MBA
Samantha Alaimo ’21 took a two-week course at the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine over the summer.

Over the summer, Samantha Alaimo ’21, a marine biology major, took part in a mock negotiation about the placement of an oyster farm. She also studied marine life in the field, working on the boats and at a floating aquaculture facility. She even sorted through the day’s catch from a trawl net and measured lobsters.

Image of Samantha Alaimo ’21
Samantha Alaimo ’21

Alaimo’s experiences were part of a two-week "Sustainable Fisheries" course at the Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island in Maine. She was the recipient of the University’s 2019 Marine Programs Summer Scholarship, which is supported by University benefactors Phil Bartels ’11 Hon., co-chair of The Charger Challenge Centennial campaign and former Board of Governors Chair, and Susan Bartels.

"I am grateful to the University of New Haven and to the Bartels family for this amazing opportunity to explore the field of marine biology," said Alaimo. "I love marine biology because I can combine my hobbies and my love for discovery."

Alaimo’s passion for learning about marine life began, she says, as a small child when she first went fishing in a small lake in Pennsylvania. Fascinated by the aquatic creatures she discovered, she later took her interest in fishing to salt water, discovering more habitats and creatures that piqued her interest.

"I love marine biology because I can combine my hobbies and my love for discovery."Samantha Alaimo ’21

Vice president of the University’s Marine Conservation Society, Alaimo connects with her classmates during the organization’s campus-wide Marine Week events in April, sharing her love of marine life.

Image of Adam Caress, MBA
Samantha Alaimo ’21

"'Stuff-a-Sea-Critter' is our largest event, and last year, we had about 600 students in attendance," she said. "Bringing the campus community together and seeing the joy on students’ faces made me proud to be a Charger."

A mathematics minor, Alaimo is a calculus teaching assistant and is conducting research on matrices with Yasanthi Kottegoda, Ph.D., something that she says has enabled her to think "outside the box."

Alaimo’s goal is to make a splash in the commercial fishing industry. Her experiences – from fishing to her hands-on learning at the University – have enabled her to develop a deep understanding of the industry and the impact she aspires to make.

"In the commercial fishing industry, there is a disconnect between policymakers and the fishermen themselves," said Alaimo. "In the future, I hope to remove this disconnect by integrating the highly knowledgeable fishermen into policymaking. As an active fisherman, I want to work with other fishermen and policymakers so that both of their voices can be heard."