Federal Relations

Bright Spots in Home Schooling

November 2, 2006  

Fisheries Program Selects Homeschooled Participant

By Cherise Ryan

Nikolett Anneler has loved watching NOVA (PBS’s nature and science program) and other nature shows since she was 3 years old. In summer 2006, she went beyond just watching when she was chosen to participate in the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program.

Nikolett Anneler
Nikolett Anneler’s love of animals and science has earned her a place in several student programs. She plans to study zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

The Hutton Program gives high school students eight weeks of hands-on experience in fisheries science, mentored by a fisheries professional. “It is basically a summer internship for high schoolers,” says Nikolett. The 18-year-old Oklahoman was one of 56 students chosen out of 338 applicants from across the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain.

During her eight weeks in the program, Nikolett did field and lab work, including dissecting fish. “I looked at over a hundred fish stomachs this summer!” she said. “I also did a full-fledged lab report as if I was a real scientist.”

The Hutton Program awards a $3,000 scholarship to program participants. According to the Hutton website, students might assist with “stream sampling, seining, electrofishing, fish tagging and tracking, ecosystem restoration, public education, angler surveys, and laboratory analyses of fish to determine age and growth.”

Nikolett has been homeschooled her whole life, except for two brief intervals when she attended a private school and then a public school. “I wanted to try it and see if it was different [from homeschooling], and quickly knew I didn’t like it,” she said.

Nikolett has loved animals ever since her early days of fishing in a backyard pond and showing goats in 4-H fairs. However, she wasn’t specifically interested in fish until she located the Hutton website during an Internet search one day. “I didn’t know much about fish and I wanted to learn about them and their habitat and understand them better,” she says, so she applied to the program. Nikolett says the Hutton Program helped her realize that she wants to pursue a degree in the wildlife field.

Although just beginning her senior year of high school, Nikolett has already been accepted by the University of Oklahoma’s undergraduate zoology program for fall 2007. She hopes to attend graduate school, possibly going on to conduct wildlife research or work in a wildlife refuge.

The 18-year-old was also selected to participate in the University of Oklahoma’s one-week Field Studies in Multidisciplinary Biology program for high school juniors and seniors, a program which Nikolett took advantage of this past summer. She also currently helps teach a wildlife class to homeschooled elementary-age students.

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