Since my very first experience with the ocean (being stung by a jellyfish in the Indian Ocean when I was a year old), I have never been able to see myself anywhere else. Growing up in a multicultural environment in different countries, I have had the unique opportunity to experience and fall in love with all different sides of nature. The effects of climate change and the impending destruction of our world have inspired me to enter the Conservation Biology field with the hopes of implementing change for our future generations. My decision to come to SLU and join the Biology department has been key in turning my passion for nature into a clear and concise career path.
The Conservation Biology major was officially offered in my sophomore year and I never thought I could find a major that combined all of my interests. The economic and global studies requirements of the major in addition to the biology requirements give the students a crucial boost into this multidimensional field.
I have always had a love for the ocean and this was strengthened after taking a few marine classes here at SLU. I spent a summer volunteering with tortoises in Senegal, and sea turtles in Kenya and this helped convince me that international marine conservation is where I want my future. A SLU marine ecology course took me to the Bahamas which lead to another summer working with coral reef restoration there with two other students and Dr. Brad Baldwin. I also spent my time in the Bahamas collecting seafood samples which are being used for mercury analysis and are being tested to determine the frequency of seafood mislabeling. I received a SLU fellowship which I used to study the effects of mercury on the behavior of tropical fish, and I am continuing this research for my senior year project with Dr. Brad Baldwin, this time looking at the effects of mercury on the reproductive output of tropical fish.
As I near the completion of my undergraduate degree, I am looking at a variety of opportunities that will introduce me to the international marine conservation field. I am currently applying for an internship with the Director of the Marine and Coastal Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, as well as another with the Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean. I am also planning on applying to the Peace Corps once I have gained more experience in marine conservation policy development and implementation. Graduate school is also on my horizon and I am hoping two or three years of learning the opportunities available to me will help me decided if I would like to pursue a scientific or policy track with conservation biology. With all of the uncertainties in my future, I am certain that I will want to return to Africa and help save the seas that are so precious to our world.