As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to feature my milestones of the past year. From outreach events, to fieldwork, to keeping up with research, 2017 has been a year for the books! I am looking forward to maintaining this momentum for 2018.
January 21-22: Participated in science communication training workshop known as IMPACTS (Inspiring Meaningful Programs and Communications through Science) organized by the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Through the workshop, we became trained to be Science Communication Ambassadors, developing outreach materials and programming for the North Carolina Science Festival and classroom visits.
March 24: Presented "MPAs did not mitigate coral reef phase shifts in Belize caused by disease and warming" at 5th Annual Environment and Ecology Student Symposium. I was one of the co-organizers of this event, which featured oral and poster presentations from graduate and undergraduate students from UNC, Duke, and NC State.
April 12-15: Attended and presented at the 2017 Benthic Ecology Meeting in Myrtle Beach, SC. Presented talk titled: "MPAs did not mitigate coral reef phase shifts in Belize caused by disease and warming."
April 22: Collaborated with graduate students in Dr. Karl Castillo's lab to offer hands-on activities about coral reef ecology and physiology, SCUBA diving, and marine conservation at the North Carolina Science Festival.
April 27: Shared my research with middle school students at Culbreth Middle School's Science Day.
May 22 - June 8: Traveled to Belize to collect preliminary data about fisheries management initiatives and to network with in-country collaborators at the Belize Fisheries Department and numerous environmental organizations. I visited Belize City, Placencia, Caye Caulker, and Punta Gorda. Fieldwork supported by UNC's Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology and Institute for the Study of the Americas.
June 10: Began training and coursework for PADI Divemaster with Water World SCUBA and Marine, in Durham, NC. The Divemaster is a professional level of SCUBA diving, whereby individuals lead teams of divers, assist with open water courses and other related diving instructions. This was one of my goals since I became SCUBA certified in 2011, and only enhances my diving leadership skills.
June 27: UNC's Summer Session II began, and I taught two laboratory sections for BIOL 252: Human Anatomy and Physiology.
July: Continued TA'ing, and made progress on preliminary data analysis for project examining long-term trends in coral community dynamics in Belize.
August 19: Co-organized SciREN Triangle Lesson Plan Workshop in Raleigh, NC.
September 21: Co-organized SciREN Networking Event in Raleigh, NC.
September 25 - October 6: Returned to Belize for additional meetings and networking with in-country collaborators at the Belize Fisheries Department and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE).
October 13: Completed all requirements for PADI Divemaster!
October 16: Matched with middle school pen-pal through the Letters to a Pre-Scientist Pen Pal program. We send hand-written letters to each other every few months.
November and December: Continue preliminary data analysis, applying to external research grants, coursework in statistics, and planning 2018 research projects.
Hi! I am currently a graduate student in Dr. John Bruno's lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am pursuing a PhD in Ecology through the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology. Broadly, my research interests include coral reef ecology, ecosystem-based fisheries management, and tropical marine conservation. I hope to become an integrative part of connecting academics, natural resource managers, and local communities to achieve common goals.