Students in the tropical marine biology class often go to Caribbean waters during Spring Break to conduct research for their SMPs. This faculty-led, 10-day program takes place in Belize, which features Mayan ruins, a rainforest, and the second largest coral reef in the world.
By definition, a St. Mary's Project is in an area of the student's special interest. The interests of natural science majors are many, as shown by the titles of some SMPs:
- Mathematical insights into Species competition
- Scientific illustration of a vertebrate zoology lab manual
- The aerodynamics of a golf ball flight
- Gene mapping of a familial skin disorder
- A conservation education resource on coral reef ecology
A Ph.D. candidate in graduate school writes:
"The St. Mary's Project was crucial for getting accepted to one of the top five Ph.D. programs in the nation. Completing a research project showed that I had experience in designing and carrying out a research project, which is something that graduate schools look for. "