Career Planning

Nick Whitney, ’00

Nick Whitney, ’082017 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture

“How to Be a Shark Scientist (or Anything Else)”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Towsley Lecture Hall/Norris 101

Nick Whitney is a senior scientist with the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at New England Aquarium and is currently in residence at Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky.

Born in Jackson, Michigan, he grew up knowing one thing about sharks: they eat you. By the time he finished high school—and after reading a lot about sharks—Whitney was a bona fide shark nut and aspiring marine biologist. At Albion College, he learned the basics of field research, studying nurse sharks in the Florida Keys with Dr. Jeffrey Carrier. After graduating from Albion, Whitney pursued his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he learned that sharks actually can be dangerous if you grab their tails and refuse to let go, or if you swim directly into their open mouths.

Whitney has spent the past several years developing the use of accelerometers that can sense sharks’ fine-scale movements, measuring with great precision how they swim, tilt, roll, and dive. In the process, these tags are starting to shed light on a long-in-the-dark shark mystery: Although scientists have known where the animals go, they generally have had no idea what the sharks are actually doing when they go there. Whitney is using technology found in a wearable fitness tracker or smartphone to answer the “What are they doing?” question, and it turns out they are doing some surprising things.

The first to deploy accelerometers on wild sharks, Whitney has since used the tags on white sharks, sea turtles, Burmese pythons, and several other species. He has published numerous scientific papers, magazine articles, and encyclopedia articles, and has appeared on television on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the National Geographic Channel.

Whitney received the “Top 10 in 10” Young Alumni Award from Albion College in 2010. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife of 16 years, Holli (Mezeske), ’99, and their three children.

Experience Opportunities

Tom Dukes, '13, spent six months in Germany, primarily in Dresden and Tubingen.
Tom Dukes, '13, spent six months in Germany, mainly in Dresden and Tübingen.

Fluency in more than one language and understanding other cultures are essential skills for living and working in our increasingly internationalized world. Students pursuing French, German, Japanese and Spanish at Albion College will discover how people in other parts of the world think and express their ideas and beliefs, all while practicing and mastering their language of study through a number of ways.

First-, Second-, and Third-Year Courses

Besides introducing students to culture, all of the department's language courses emphasize the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Incorporated into classes are culturally authentic videos, films, radio programs and Internet sites, as well as music from foreign countries.

Outside the classroom, Native Speaker Teaching Assistants and advanced language students assist small groups of students in tutorials once a week. Language students also meet once each week for lunch with faculty, teaching assistants, native speakers and other students to practice their language skills in a more relaxed setting. Classroom study is further supplemented with language CDs that can be used in any campus computer lab or your dorm room.

Upper-Level Courses

Cultural, historical, literary and filmic texts are the focus of the department's upper-level courses, which are all taught in the target languages and which are designed to increase your awareness and understanding of different world views, arts and traditions. In this process, you will also gain a richer understanding of yourself and your own culture.

Additional Opportunities

Katie Stephens, '12, studied for a year in Argentina.
Katie Stephens, '12, studied off-campus for a year in Argentina.

As a language major or minor at Albion College, you are required to live in the I-Space, our international language living and learning area, located in Fiske House, for at least one semester. Native Speaker Teaching Assistants help students learn more about the culture of their country, while also helping students refine their conversational skills in a residential setting. Students pledge to speak the intended language within their living quarters.

Kids at Hope program, which meets weekly at the First United Methodist Church in Albion, helps language majors spread their own enjoyment of language learning to a younger generation by volunteering their time to teach Albion area grade-school children French and Spanish. 

All Modern Language majors and minors are strongly encouraged to participate in one of several approved off-campus programs.

Please see our Faculty and Staff page for contact information for each of the professors, who will be glad to answer questions you may have about our program.

Selva J. Raj Memorial Scholarship

This award was established in March of 2008 in memory of Dr. Selva J. Raj (1952 – 2008). Dr. Raj was a beloved and outstanding scholar, teacher, and colleague. Recipients of the scholarship are announced at Albion College's Honors Convocation each April.

2014 Laxmi Kotha

2013 Christina Hallam

2012 Dustin Moretz

2011 Christopher White

2010 Julia Humenik

2009 Christina Griffith and Steven Maisel

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