From: Sanford, North Carolina, USA.
Education/Background: BS Astrophysics, Appalachian State (2016), MS Coastal and Ocean Policy, UNCW (2018), summer education intern and then aquariology intern, NC Aquarium Fort Fisher (2019), outdoor educator and animal caretaker, San-Lee Park nature center (2019-2021). Beginning MPS in Aquaculture at UMiami in the fall!
Reasons for coming: I love animals and the ocean, and my time as a summer educator, aquariology intern, and dive volunteer at the NC Aquarium immersed me in the world of marine conservation, education, and outreach. After studying marine policy and then working in environmental education and outreach for a few years, I decided I am more interested in the science and field work aspects of conservation. I have a strong physics and math background, and in undergrad developed skills as a science communicator when I worked as a TA in the astronomy laboratory, volunteered for outreach programs, and worked on a project to design new telescope and camera setups for the teaching lab. However, I don’t have formal education in biology or field research so I wanted an experience that would teach me field techniques as well as immerse me in the world of biological science. I hope to learn a lot about fish biology and ecology; form connections with others interested in marine biology and conservation; and contribute to data collection that can inform conservation of vulnerable species. I have never been to the Bahamas before so I am excited to explore all the natural beauty and see some amazing animals up close in the wild. I hope this experience will give me the breadth of knowledge and experience to excel in my aquaculture masters program and to find work as an aquarist or field biologist in the future. I want to do active, hands-on work with animals every day to work for their protection and conservation.