May Term

Lycoming's unique 4-4-1 academic calendar offers yet another opportunity for exploration abroad...the May Term. This term is a four-week voluntary session that provides students with classes not regularly offered during Fall and Spring semesters. Many May Term courses involve traveling abroad and are open to majors and nonmajors alike.

Some recent May Terms abroad include:

Bio Trip Swim Dolphins

Scuba Bio Trip


Marine Biology: Roatan Island, Honduras

Dr. Mel Zimmerman, Professor of Biology and Director of the Clean Water Institute, has been teaching Tropical Marine Biology as part of the May Terms at Lycoming College since 1984. He has made 23 trips to the Caribbean/Gulf or Central America with more than 200 students from Lycoming. All but 5 of these trips were to the Hofstra University Marine lab in Jamaica.

During a sabbatical in 1989, Dr. Zimmerman and his wife, Gail (certified in Biology), were directors of the Hofstra lab for a semester. They were directors again during the summer of 2001. After 25 years in operation, the Hofstra lab in Jamaica closed in 2005, and Dr. Zimmerman used a professional development grant tied to his sabbatical in 2006 to complete an eight-day workshop organized by The Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) on Tropical Marine Ecology at the Roatan Institute for Marine Science (RIMS), a private teaching/research lab housed at Anthony’s Key, Roatan Island, Honduras.

The experience led Dr. Zimmerman to organize a May Term in 2007 that included an extended eight-day trip to Roatan. The RIMS lab is located in the middle of a 13km protected area known as the Sandy Bay Marine Reserve. The island of Roatan is along the southern edge of the second largest barrier reef in the world. The MESO-American Barrier Reef extends from Yukatan (Mexico) south to the Bay Islands of Honduras.

This year 16 students traveled to RIMS on a week field trip at the end of their May Term course in Tropical Marine Biology. 2-3 snorkel/dive trips each day along the reefs explored coral diversity and reef health. The ecology of organisms was studied, ranging from sponges, squid, octopus, sea turtles to fish, including Groupers, Wrasse, Parrotfish, Butterfly fish, and an occasional Barracuda. 12 of the students are certified PADI open water divers who completed their dive instruction at Lycoming College. An added bonus to the lab is a dolphin training/research facility. 15 bottlenose dolphins reside at RIMS and, after lectures on their ecology and physiology, students snorkeled as part of their course encounter. Field trips also included a tropical forest/garden ecology tour and a “zip-line” canopy tour that starts in the central-highland and ends at the sea and a night snorkel.

Read more about the 2012 trip:

Art China 2012 Group

Art China Students 2012

Art China Wall 2012

Art: China

Twenty-four members of the Lycoming College community, including faculty, students and alums, spent 15 days touring China as part of May Term 2012. The group traveled by airplane, sleeper train, bullet train, bus, cruise ship, small boat, dinghy, gondola, rickshaw and foot, exploring the intersections of old and new China, meeting the people and experiencing the art and culture of this fast-changing country.

Highlights included the former military factory complex that is now Art Zone 798 in Beijing, M50 contemporary sculpture center in Shanghai, lunch with a family in the Hutongs historic district of Beijing, Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the terra-cotta warriors and horses and riding bikes on the ancient city wall in Xi’an, cruising the Li and Yangtze Rivers past gorges and rice paddies, pandas, the Reed Flute Cave, a tea ceremony at a lush green tea plantation, spicy food, bustling markets, a panorama view of the Shanghai skyline from Jinmao Tower, and more.