Department of Biological Sciences

Insights into the USM Community: Johnny Wise, Biology major

Interview with Johnny Wise, student leader for the USM Outdoor Adventure Club


1) What is the best kept secret at USM?

My response to this is rather biased -- I've been working in a toxicology lab full time while I've been an undergrad here.  In my opinion, the best kept secret is the research experience a student can get here and the flexibility professors offer students who are involved in those projects.  I'm paying far less than someone going to a bigger named school and gaining far more experience.

2) What does the Outdoor Adventure Club do?

We organize special adventure activities for students to partake in at discounted prices; past trips have included dog sledding, ice climbing, rock climbing, canoeing, LOTS of hiking, backpacking, whitewater rafting, and an annual skydiving trip.  We have also set up smaller local events such as capture the flag, ultimate frisbee, or kickball.

3) What does one need to join the Outdoor Adventure Club?

Ideally a great sense of fun and adventure, decent physical fitness (though not required for all activities), and a great laugh. We have some gear to provide students for hiking or backpacking, but our closet is limited, so it's easier if people interested in those activities have their own gear.


3) What is your major and what do you like about the program?

I'm majoring in biology.  I love the wide variety of subjects this introduces me to, and the perspective it gives me of the world.  By studying biology I've come to understand how finely tuned an animals (or our own) bodily functions are to serve our daily needs and our roles in the environment.  I can also begin to understand the functions of an animal from the tiny molecular interactions that enable DNA to replicate and code everything about us all the way up to the interactions between populations and how their interactions can greatly affect the environment on a global scale.

 4) Tell me about your favorite place to go in the area

If I'm looking for a weekend away, I'll usually travel to the White Mountain National Forest in NH or up to Gulf Hagas near Baxter State Park.  The White Mountains never cease to amaze me and provide me with new adventures; while Gulf Hagas is further away, it's a short easy hike that is lined with a couple dozen waterfalls and is a phenomenal place to relax in isolation.  If I'm looking for something to fill an afternoon, I might go down to Portland Headlight and climb the rocks and trees or don my snorkel gear (and wetsuit!) and see what's going on in the intertidal zone.