CSI provides students with hands on opportunities, experiences

Cole Basnight, Staff Writer

The UNC Coastal Studies Institute was formed in 2003 as an inter-university research institute. Located in Skyco, the CSI set out from the beginning to offer educational opportunities and community outreach programs for those interested and concerned about the environment of the state’s coastal communities.

“The staff at CSI has been awesome to Manteo High School,” science teacher Pat Holland said. “It helps because what they do is they take these concepts that are hard to explain and they give [students] concrete examples for abstract concepts.”

Since its conception, both math and science teachers have utilized CSI to show their students how their subjects are used in the real world.

“CSI is an incredible resource that we use to allow students experience in the field. Depending on what we are going down there for, students get to complete a hands on program and collect and apply real data,” said science teacher Chad Leary.

Math teacher Frank Vrablic took his class of Math I students to CSI in March to show them how exciting math is in the real world.

“I wanted them to see an application of math and how we can use it and how what we study in math is out there,” said Vrablic.

While at CSI, his students were shown presentations on mapping a shipwreck. The study used coordinates and the relationship between pressure and depth using math and science.

“It was a good and fun experience and I hope to do it again. It gave the class a chance to use mathematics outside of the classroom in real life situations,” freshman Tessie Dough said.

AP Physics students visited CSI to study its wave tank. In learning about the tank, students studied the different wavelengths and amplitudes of the waves and took measurements.

“We took measurements of wave height, oscillation period and wavelength by writing on the wave tank and using stopwatches and meter sticks,” junior Alex White said.

Two seniors, James Cahoon and Victoria Moore, spent the year interning at CSI and will complete their internship when the school year ends, learning and seeing first hand all that the facility has to offer. Both students enjoyed how close CSI is and how effective it is at finding ways to benefit the Outer Banks.

“[While] interning there, I worked on a few projects,” Moore said. “One of the main projects I worked on is an idea for ocean energy converter. This involved using a math program and many physics concepts to solve.”

Math is a very important application in this process as it helps in determining how much energy is being converted.

Moore also worked on the oyster population problem in Wanchese. She and Cahoon researched where the population went and how to get it back.

“The thing I like best about having an internship at CSI is being able to do hands on projects while learning,” Moore said. “The things I’ve gained at CSI I can’t get in a classroom setting.”

Representatives from CSI have visited classrooms in the school to explain their programs and what the facility has to offer the school’s students.

The CSI has tried to make a major impact in the community as they try to help out with future problems and teach students the importance of CSI’s mission.

“At the Coastal Studies Institute we help out with all sorts of things, from testing ocean energy converter concepts to helping field trip groups to playing with the wave tank. Being so close to water is great for CSI because if they need any first hand data they have the ocean and the sound right in their backyard,” Cahoon said.