By: Isaiah Hudson

Ana Eggleston recently graduated from Old Dominion University on May 4, 2024, and they did it in three years. They majored in Ocean & Earth Sciences with a concentration in geological oceanography and earned their B.S. degree. When they attended Granby High School, they took part in the school’s International Baccalaureate program which ultimately helped them finish at ODU in under four years because they earned college credit through their high school coursework. As they look back over their time at ODU, they are thankful to have been a part of research as an undergraduate that made indelible impacts on them. 

“Of all the schools I applied to it was by far the most affordable, and it was actually the only one with my actual major, geology,” said Eggleston. Eggleston attributes their interest in oceanography and geology to their parents. Both of their parents obtained their master’s degrees in oceanography at ODU and taught at Tidewater Community College (TCC). “I would go on their field trips, or I’d be stuck in the office when they were teaching,” said Eggleston. “With college I’m very familiar with oceanography, but I really like rocks ‘so what if I did oceanography and rocks’, geological oceanography." With their program of interest solidified, they were ready to delve into research.

While at ODU Eggleston has had multiple research opportunities. First, they took a part in the College of Sciences Undergraduate Research Program (COSURP) where they performed research on sediments with Assistant Professor Elizabeth Wallace, Ph.D. Also, they took a field studies class where they did research on grain size with Professor John Klinck, Ph.D. who is a researcher in Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography at ODU.

According to Wallace, Eggleston has been measuring the grain size of sediment samples collected from a blue hole on Turks and Caicos Island. “The data they produced will help us figure out how intense some of these ancient hurricanes were when they passed over the island,” states Wallace. Wallace also attests to Eggleston's work ethic and can-do attitude. Wallace said, “Ana is a really enthusiastic student and a great team player in the lab, always showing up to help with other student’s projects. It’s been a pleasure to work with Ana.”

As someone who has grown up around higher education institutions and has been on campus frequently at ODU, being a student has been special for them. “My commute is less than 15 minutes and being able to go home every day has been special,” said Eggleston.

To Eggleston, ODU has been noteworthy because of the opportunities to participate in research that they’re passionate about. “ODU actually has my undergrad degree, most schools only have Oceanography as a master's or a Ph.D.,” said Eggelston. “I get to do field work and stick my hands in whatever research I get to do, and that’s really nice.” Following their passion at ODU has been meaningful.

As a Monarch they had the ability to take part and work alongside experts in the field, and they don’t take that lightly. “We actually have all the sciences that you’re not necessarily going to find at other schools, or if you do, they’re not really going to be research-based. They’re going to be more paper and booked-based which doesn’t really do much when you’re actually trying to learn the science,” said Eggleston.   

When they are not researching sediments and grains, Eggleston spends time ice skating and teaching others how to ice skate. “I’ve been doing that since I was three and a half and I just turned 21,” said Eggelston. They competed for two decades and earned two gold medals in ice dance and figures from U.S. Figure Skating. They have coached younger students and passed rigorous tests in the field of ice skating. “Skating has been the core of my life and why I’ve done most of the traveling I’ve done over the years,” said Eggleston.

Likewise, Eggleston has had the opportunity to travel and take part in research both locally from Sandbridge to the Eastern Shore. They applied to graduate school in Iceland and was recently accepted at the University of Iceland where they will pursue a master’s degree in geology with a concentration in volcanology.