Texas Tech University

At the Regional Sites

Waco Biology Students Plan Trip to Honduras

by Kelly Podzemny

A group of Biology students at Texas Tech University Higher Education Teaching Site at Waco (TTU at Waco) is planning a coral reef diving trip to Honduras. The expedition is part of the Coral Reef Biology and Coral Reef Research Techniques courses that will be offered through TTU at Waco during the spring 2016 semester and early summer "Maymester" term respectively.

"I've never been more excited about a class trip than I am this one," TTU at Waco Biology Professor Dr. Stephanie Lockwood said. "Coral reefs account for less than 0.1 percent of the Earth's surface, yet account for over 25 percent of all marine species."

Students will first receive classroom instruction in Waco during Lockwood's Coral Reef Biology class. In addition to lectures, students will plan research projects to be conducted later on. Then the group will travel to Utila, Honduras during the research techniques class. There they will learn to scuba dive, and complete their projects on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.

"We'll get to experience a wide array of organisms and hopefully get a chance to swim with a whale shark," Lockwood said. "Whale sharks are the largest living fish species and can reach 40 feet in length. Students will also complete their designed research projects to further help understanding about this delicate ecosystem in hopes to preserve it."

This isn't the first time students in Waco have gone outside of the classroom to learn. Lockwood has taken her classes on trips to many locations nearer to Waco to take advantage of unique learning opportunities. Her Organic Evolution class visited the Waco Mammoth National Monument, the Parasitology class collected insects along the Bosque River, and many were able to observe monarch butterflies migrating through Waco.

"Our students are taking advantage of opportunities that are unique to Waco and our program," Director of TTU at Waco Lewis Snell said. "We are fortunate to have professors like Dr. Lockwood to offer such experiences."

Whale Shark
The whale shark is one of many marine species Lockwood hopes students will see on the trip.


TTU at Waco resides on the scenic campus of McLennan Community College and offers upper level courses toward a bachelor's degree. Students complete most of their core curriculum requirements with the community college, and the upper level requirements with TTU at Waco. Degrees offered include Biology, General Studies, University Studies, and the B.A.A.S.