Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering - Ecological Engineering
Palm Bay, FL
Shannon Dixon’s most valuable learning experience has come as a research assistant in Dr. Andréa Grottoli’s lab, where she has assisted in the production of an engineering prototype that will mitigate the bleaching impacts on coral reefs. In this role she gained experience writing research grants and had an opportunity to perform field experiments at Reef Systems Coral Farm, gaining valuable hands-on field experience. She credits her time in Dr. Grottoli’s lab with cementing her interest in pursuing a PhD.
The successful defense of her undergraduate honors research thesis in her junior year offered Shannon her greatest sense of accomplishment. The culmination of two years of work, her study examined the effects of long-term temperature and pH stress on Symbiodiniaceae density in Montipora capitata, Porites lobata, and Porites compressa coral. Over the course of her research, she learned the proposal writing process, the use of technical imaging software, and how to present her research. Shannon recalls her joy after delivering her defense, sharing, “I had never been so elated to complete something. It was also really nice no longer hearing the script in the back of my head at all times.” Funded by the National Science Foundation and H.W. Hoover Foundation with additional funding from an undergraduate research grant from OSU’s College of Engineering, the work completed for Shannon’s thesis was included in a larger published dissertation by Dr. Rowan McLachlan.
In addition to her scholarship and research, Shannon served as a peer leader in the First Year Success program, overseeing 289 first-year students during their transition to college. She conducted outreach initiatives and organized events designed to ensure students’ academic and emotional success at the university. As a Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering recruitment assistant, Shannon met with incoming and current students to discuss the possibilities within the major. She gained perspective on the functioning of higher learning institutes; the experience helped influence her decision to seek a career in academia. Shannon also found a home on the OSU Club Swimming Team, which she joined her freshman year.
Shannon recognizes Dr. Andréa Grottoli as her mentor. She shared, “I have been working in Dr. Grottoli’s lab since the end of my freshmen year. Throughout my time in her lab I have gained invaluable experience in analyzing data, conducting research experiments, scientific writing, and applying for grants/proposals. Without Dr. Grottoli’s mentorship I would have never thought to pursue graduate school. Dr. Grottoli has gone above and beyond for me as a mentor and I am immensely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve gained from volunteering in her lab.”
A native of Palm Bay, Florida, Shannon’s grandfather was also a Buckeye. She fondly recalled the experience of attending a Big Ten game with him. Having been accepted into OSU’s Earth Science PhD program, Shannon will remain a Buckeye for her graduate career. Her long-term goal is to combine her engineering background with her passion for coral research toward innovative solutions for coral bleaching.
Service, involvement, and accolades: Honors and Scholars Ambassador | OSU Club Swim Team, meet coordinator | Office of Diversity and Inclusion Peer Mentor