Mario Sengco

For a young Filipino boy curious about the sea, Manila’s outdoor market full of fresh seafood provided an ideal laboratory. After school and on weekends, Mario Sengco visited the market to examine the silvery bodies of fish and to prod their gills “just to see how they worked.” After moving to New Jersey at age 14, Sengco eventually took his interest in ocean life to Long Island University, where he studied marine biology. During his sophomore year, he attended a lecture on red tides by WHOI biologist Don Anderson, who in 1996 became Sengco’s graduate advisor in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Oceanographic Engineering. In 2002, he received the first Panteleyev Award, presented to a graduating student who exemplifies a commitment to improving student life and the educational experience at WHOI. “I did it through song,” he jokes. A tenor, Sengco coordinated several a cappella groups on Cape Cod and appeared in musicals at MIT. He is now a postdoctoral investigator in the WHOI Biology Department.