Programs completed at APU: Masters of Science, Environmental Science
Project Title and what it entails: My Masters thesis is entitled “Prey availability and preference of Enteroctopus dofleini in Prince William Sound, Alaska.” My project focuses on giant Pacific octopuses, what they eat, and why. Although it mostly entailed sitting in front of a massive Microsoft Excel sheet, it also provided me the opportunity to work closely with octopuses and to conduct a research trip in Prince William Sound during the summer of 2016. During this trip, I lived on a boat for a week with an awesome research team, explored the intertidal, saw my first sea otter, harbor seal, Steller sea lion, tufted puffin, humpback whale and orca! It was the experience of a lifetime.
Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Favorite classes at APU: Although I have loved all of my classes at APU, there are two that really stand out: Human Impacts in the Marine Environment with Leslie Cornick and Nordic Skiing with Paul Twardock. Although Human Impacts was filled with depressing issues, such as the threats of overfishing, global climate change, and marine debris, it was engaging and motivating to discuss these issues with other students. The class was based around debates and group discussions, which often challenged our preconceived notions about controversial issues, and inspired me to share these issues with others. Nordic skiing, on the other hand, was both incredibly challenging and endlessly fun! I don’t think I have ever laughed as much as I did in this class. Although I won’t be competing in the Olympics anytime soon, I can now go down (most of) the hills on the APU trails (thanks to Paul’s unshakable patience) and for that I am super thankful!
What is your favorite APU memory? Without a doubt my favorite APU memory was when Dr. Brad Harris awarded me the At Sea Processor’s Graduate Scholarship at the Honors Ceremony last year. I have never been so honored, thankful or surprised in my life! I will never forget that moment. Also, ironically enough, the endless hours spent working on my thesis with amazing friends. They somehow had a way of making the 12+ hour work days fun and I could not have completed my thesis without them!
What is going to be your next adventure post-APU? This summer I am heading to Homer to work for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, a local non-profit that promotes environmental education in the intertidal regions of Kachemak Bay. After that I will be enjoying some time traveling internationally, SCUBA diving in Florida and learning to sail before pursuing my PhD!
Any words of wisdom for students working on completing their degrees? Travel more, worry less. Don’t wait to get involved in your field. Find what you are passionate about, whether that be research or climbing mountains, community engagement or environmental education. Whatever it is, seek it out. Sometimes this will involve doing things that scare you, or new opportunities you aren’t sure you are capable of. Do them anyway. You are capable of so much more than you think you are! Also, most importantly, always be kind to yourself and to others. The reverberation of kindness knows no bounds.