Graduation 2018: Moffat County senior Jeremy Looper chases dreams to Australia | CraigDailyPress.com

Graduation 2018: Moffat County senior Jeremy Looper chases dreams to Australia

After graduating from Moffat County High School, Jeremy Looper wants to sleep with the fishes. No, not that way.

He plans to study freshwater ecology and marine biology in hopes of becoming an underwater researcher.

When Looper was in fourth grade, his teacher, Wendy Seely, brought home stories of her adventures beneath the surface as a scuba diver. She told the class about a specific dive in the Florida Keys, during which a guide showed her the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aquarius Laboratory, the world's only undersea lab. Researchers on the underwater station spend days at a time beneath the waves near a coral reef about three miles off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, studying the environment on the sea floor.

"I just thought that was really, really interesting, and her stories inspired me to be a marine biologist," Looper said.

He plans to study at the University of Wisconson Whitewater's marine biology and freshwater ecology program. He'll spend three years in Wisconsin, where he'll fulfill his general education requirements and complete coursework in freshwater biology. For his final year of undergraduate studies, Looper plans to head to Deakin University, in Melbourne, Australia, to study the marine biology portion of his degree.

Looper said he's most looking forward to digging deeper into his interests after he graduates from Moffat County High School. He joked that there haven’t been a lot of opportunities to study marine biology in landlocked Colorado.

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"It'll be definitely a change, but change is good," Looper said. "Without change, nothing happens. The world is stagnant."

But, if Looper ever ends up on assignment on the underwater research station Aquarius, he'll have to get inventive. Most Aquarius aquanauts scuba dive to get to the research station and conduct studies on the environment around them.

And, Looper hasn't learned how to scuba dive … at least not yet.