Why did you pick your college major? How did that help (or not) lead you to where you are now? I felt deeply connected to the ocean for as long as I can remember so marine biology seemed like the perfect fit. It allowed me to combine my passion for marine animals with my curiosity and drive to discover new information.
What impact/influence did ZF have on your academic career? Your professional career? ZF gave me the tools to make smart decisions about college and finances. I honestly found the annual CATs to be a great way to chat about finances with my parents in a structured manner. The semester reviews also offered me a space to be reflective and think critically about my semester. However, the most impactful aspect of ZF was the ability to connect with my coaches Tim and Laura. They offered excellent advice and support throughout my undergrad that I am so very grateful for!
Please share your thoughts or ideas for what you would like to see the ZF community become or what you would like to get out of it. I think a space to continue connecting with the ZF community would be the most valuable thing for me.
What is a misconception that you had as a student about your career and the professional world? One misconception I had about careers, in general, is that they have one trajectory. Though my general career trajectory has remained consistent, taking opportunities as they come has led me to explore new research areas and organisms I never would have considered. It's comforting to know that careers change and you'll get the most out of employment by taking what opportunities come your way.
What is your favorite thing about your job? My favorite thing about my job is that I get to be curious and inquisitive with the goal of better understanding our oceans.
Any exciting projects that you’re currently working on? I am currently working on a research project with the Rhode Island state coral Astrangia poculata. Yes, we have temperate corals in New England! Corals gain energy from photosynthesis (sun) and heterotrophy (eating suspended particles with their tentacles). We are conducting field experiments to see what mode these corals are using to get energy under different light environments.
What piece(s) of advice would you give to your college/high school self? Take a deep breath and trust the process - you are exactly where you need to be. I think I spent too much time worrying about whether I was doing enough or working hard enough. Make sure you take the time to enjoy college and high school, the experiences are priceless.