An Interview with Allison Simmons
By Summer Boulais
Allison Simmons, senior Biology major and chemistry minor, attended classes at Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory last summer. She gave her perspective of some of the highs and lows of taking classes there and how it was different from the main WWU campus. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity.
Q: What are some of the pros of being a student at Rosario over the summer?
A: Let’s see, you have small class sizes and can get to know your other classmates and professors really well. It’s a different vibe because it’s more relaxed and you get to go on a bunch of trips. We went on an overnight three-to-four-day fieldtrip to the Olympic National Forest and that was really fun. You get to go tide pooling and do activities outdoors instead of being stuck in the classroom. It is more of a hands-on experience than the Walla Walla campus. You get to see a bunch of cool animals, such as orcas and sea lions. It was my favorite quarter of college ever.
Q: What are some of the cons of being a student at Rosario over the summer?
A: You have to learn a lot of information in condensed classes. It is almost double the amount of material that you would normally have. Classes are from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. You are in class a lot but often you get to tidepool during the labs. The amount of work and studying you have to do, especially for General Biology is intense. You have to do three quarters of General Biology in eight weeks.
Q: What was the most frustrating part of your experience there?
A: I don’t think there was anything frustrating. Someone kept forgetting to lock our doors and we would wake up with it right open. You could consider that roommate problems, but I don’t get frustrated that easily.
Q: What was the most exciting part of your experience there?
A: We got to design, create, and build things. We designed our own experiment so that was exciting. One of our experiments was on sea urchins which was interesting to do your own research. For Ornithology, we studied how birds respond to and interact with mirrors.
Q: What do you think is the most important thing you learned from your experience?
A: Your professors are really cool, and you should try to get to know them. It is such a beautiful place being on campus. We got to go on boat trips to other islands and there is so much to do. You can go cliff diving; I went scuba diving. You learn a lot of information about sea creatures and other things.
Q: What was the best part of your experience there?
A: The best part was making really close friends that I am still close with. I was a student missionary after freshman year, and I felt like I didn’t know my new class as much when I came back. Going to Rosario formed and solidified my friendships with biology classmates and helped me get to know my professors. 
- Interview with Allison Simmons, 2/9/2022.
- Thumbs up! Allison gives the view at Rosario a thumbs up. Photo by Allie Tyler.
- Ocean friends. This photo captures some sea-lions sunbathing on rocks, just offshore of Rosario Beach. Photo by Allison Simmons.
- Starfish. Students may get the chance to hold sea creatures like starfish when they find them. Photo by Allison Simmons.