Advice to students

A group of interns spent some time this morning talking to high school students from Watsonville.  They were having a tour of MBARI, part of which included listening to us talk about our backgrounds, what got us interested in marine science and what we are doing here this summer.  One of the key things that stood out during this session was the importance of networking – making your name known by meeting new people.  I’ve definitely experienced the benefits of this even though I’m still a student.  Getting to know as many people as possible in the field you’re interested in can open up some amazing possibilities!

I’ve spent the past three years focusing on deep sea ecology but in October I’ll be switching to a new field, starting a PhD in ocean acidification.  So all my contacts and hard work meeting people over the past few years are useless?  No way!  To begin with, ocean acidification affects the deep sea as well so I’ve been able to meet with scientists here at MBARI who are doing major work in the field (click here to read more!).  This afternoon I’m going to help Matt Russell with his intern project that is looking at how sea urchins are effected by acidic waters.

Also, just the experience of meeting new scientists can increase your confidence.  I’ve booked to go to San Diego for a week after the internship finishes and a few days ago I emailed a Professor who works at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla.  He’s done some really interesting work on how ocean acidification effects young fish and I’ve now arranged to meet up with him when I’m there.  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to talk to his research team and have a look around the labs as well.  This will be a really useful contact to have so early on in my PhD and I’m really pleased I took the plunge to email him.

If you want to know more about ocean acidification in general, there’s a good short film on YouTube called Acid Test, narrated by Sigourney Weaver.


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