Hey it’s Leslie Harris. Zachary Ferris was recruited to Aurora University to play lacrosse. He enrolled as a health science major, but during his sophomore year, he took a marine and island ecology course through the Shedd aquarium, and lived on a research vessel in the Bahamas for 10 days.
While snorkeling, he saw the dead and dying coral reef, caused by global warming. He said, “I immediately immersed myself in the literature to see what people were doing to save coral reefs, and I decided I wanted to contribute to the global effort”
Ferris graduated in 2021 summa cum laude with a double major in biology and chemistry. He worked for the Shedd, and then studied the effect of probiotics on Stony Coral tissue loss.
Last year he won the National Science Foundation’s graduate research fellowship, and is now in a 5-year program working towards his PhD in biological sciences and coral reef ecology.
He credits Aurora University for much of his success. It was there that Zachary Ferris discovered his life’s passion of saving the coral reef.
He said, “It’s something that deeply matters to me and to the health of the planet.”