ELISE HAYDEN

From: Milwaukee, WI, USA

Education/Background: BSc in Biological Sciences, minors in French and Conservation and Environmental Sciences (CES) from University of WI-Milwaukee (completed May, 2019)

Aquarium Intern – Discovery World (Summer 2019)

Reasons for coming: Despite growing up in the Midwest, during my early childhood, I developed a deep fascination with sharks (and I never grew out of it)! Throughout college, I worked as a fish husbandry technician in an environmental toxicology laboratory at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. While I enjoyed my time in the lab, I always knew I wanted to work with sharks. I am especially excited to be working with BBFSF because the Sharklab’s mission values coincide with my own passion for bridging the communication gap between the scientific community and the general public. In addition to my regular volunteer work, I will be working under PhD candidate Vital Heim to complete an independent research project. My research interests include but are not limited to elasmobranch conservation, bycatch minimization, endangered species protection, sustainable natural resources management, and community-based climate solutions. Small coastal and island communities rely heavily on healthy oceans and often contribute little to climate change, but experience its negative effects, nonetheless. This issue is close to my heart as a Puerto Rican woman, having watched multiple hurricanes devastate the island just over the last few years. Throughout my career, I would like to find new ways to involve small, coastal communities in every step of the scientific process. Additionally, I would like to use my platform as a scientist to advocate for every community’s right to self-determination, while helping individual communities design and implement resource management strategies that will benefit both the local economy and the surrounding marine ecosystems. Having grown up in a major US city, I have seen firsthand the inequities in the opportunities and resources available to individuals experiencing poverty, racism, misogyny, and other forms of systemic oppression. In addition to my own contributions to science, over the entire course of my career, I hope to dedicate significant energy toward helping create research opportunities for marginalized groups around the world who are interested, but often underrepresented, in marine science.

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