When Kevin Peters, a Ph.D. student in biology at UAB, arrives in Antarctica in February, it will be his third trip to the continent with UAB. Kevin, 25, first traveled with the UAB team to Antarctica in 2001.
Most of his research work on this trip will be with sponges. Kevin will dive with other team members and collect samples. He will also study the sponges’ chemical defenses and tissues. Kevin is looking forward to the work and especially the diving. “It’s such a different place. So few people get to do it,” he says about the diving.
In addition to the diving, Kevin is looking forward to eating the meals prepared at Palmer Station. “They have some really good cooks down there and the food is great,” he says. In fact, Kevin sees eating at Palmer as an improvement over his normal diet. “As a college student, I really don’t get to eat too many good meals otherwise.”
When he first came to UAB as an undergraduate student, Kevin was not considering pursuing biology to the graduate level. “I was in [biology] as a pre-med student planning on going to medical school,” he says. “But after taking some of the courses I became interested.”
Kevin’s interest in biology led him to participate in UAB trips to Costa Rica and the Bahamas. It was during the Bahamas trip Kevin got to know UAB Endowed Professor of Polar and Marine Biology James McClintock, Ph.D. He encouraged Kevin to think about pursing biology further.
After he returned from the 2001 Antarctica expedition, Kevin began teaching labs in biology at UAB. He soon discovered he enjoyed teaching. After discussing his options with some of the biology professors, Kevin decided to pursue a Ph.D. in the subject with the goal of becoming a biology professor.
When Kevin isn’t diving into Antarctica’s icy waters, he enjoys scuba diving in warmer places. Kevin and his brother Brian have dived together in the Bahamas, Belize, and the Cayman Islands. Kevin and Brian are planning another dive trip this June to the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos. “I’m really looking forward to that,” Kevin says.