My interest in science began at a very young age. I suspect it was a byproduct of growing up on the water with my family, and with my grandparents always taking me to the beach, as well as zoos, aquariums and museums. Honestly, I’d wanted to be a marine biologist for as a long as I can remember- probably from when I was about 5 years old.
I spent my childhood fishing and and checking out all of the living things around my uncle’s house in the Hamptons. I went to Zoocamp at the Bronx Zoo when I was around 8 or 9 years old. My childhood birthdays were at the New York Hall of Science Museum, the New York Aquarium, and other science-related places. We were going to dissect cow’s eyeballs for my 5th birthday at the New York Hall of Science, until one girl in my kindergarten class got squeamish and her mom called, so we made kaleidoscopes instead.
Each year I waited patiently until I turned 12 and could go to Seacamp, a marine biology camp in Big Pine Key, FL, which I then attended for four summers. To this day, Looe Key remains my favorite snorkel spot.
I spent most of my life aspiring to be a marine biologist. I switched majors after my freshman year of college to Environmental Studies but after interning at the Florida Aquarium, I decided I wanted to stick with marine biology and double major. In the end, Eckerd College had increased their tuition too much, and I graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies.
I couldn’t decide what I wanted to study in grad school, so I went to Columbia’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation for their Certificate in Conservation Biology program. That didn’t help matters much, because it just gave me yet another sub-discipline in conservation and ecology to be interested in- disease ecology.
Then one day during the summer of 2008, I was watching Blood Diamond. I realized that if I was good at what I do, then I might still be able to travel and see the world. I could use journalism as a tool for conservation, and pick what I thought were important issues and raise public awareness. In this way, I could still be involved in the science community, but I didn’t have to limit myself to one discipline. Three weeks later, I started at Hofstra University.
I’ve always believed that people will be successful if they do what they love and what they are good at. I love to talk. We can extend that to communication in general and say that I’m an effective communicator. Not only that, but I have often been teased for the level of detail I put in when telling a story. Once the idea popped into my head, journalism just seemed like a natural fit! I love researching, and learning about new things, and I get excited and want to share what I’ve learned with others.
I still haven’t decided if one day I will continue my education and become a “real” scientist, but in the meantime, I think I found a way to leave my mark on society.