What I value most about my experience was an opportunity to truly be my authentic self. Never in my life had I ever been with other people who loved the ocean as much as I did.
SFS PROGRAM: Marine Resource Studies | Turks & Caicos Spring ’95
HOME SCHOOL WHILE AT SFS: Dickinson College
CURRENT POSITION: Pharmaceutical Marketing
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OR MOST STRIKING SFS MEMORY?
I remember a night dive when I sat at the bottom and could see the moon. On that same dive there was also quite a bit of bioluminescence, which looked like pixie dust as I spun around with my arms waving. Lastly, I remember sitting on the rock with my fellow SFSers watching the eagle rays jumping out of the water at sunset. The locals were also so kind and friendly. I remember going to a place called the Chicken Hut for great fried chicken. I wonder if it is still there?
LOOKING BACK, WHAT DID YOU GAIN FROM YOUR TIME AT SFS?
I think about my experience very frequently. What I value most about my experience was an opportunity to truly be my authentic self. Never in my life had I ever been with other people who loved the ocean as much as I did. I’ve never had that experience again since leaving the program either. I found my inner peace in Turks and Caicos, learned about topics that I truly was interested in, and had a blast at the same time. I also have never seen anything more diverse and beautiful than the reef ecosystems that I saw. I joke that it ruined me for life because despite my annual diving trips, I have yet to see anything as good as it was on “The Rock”. It was my most favorite period of my youth (I consider anything up to 30 as my youth and then beyond that adulthood).
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A PROSPECTIVE SFS STUDENT?
Go. Don’t hesitate. It will change your life both academically and personally.
RECOMMEND A GREAT BOOK OR FILM THAT HAD AN INFLUENCE ON HOW YOU VIEW THE ENVIRONMENT.
I have two – Chasing Coral and Blue Zones. Chasing Coral talks about the disappearing reefs in a way that really tells a story. I relate to the maker of the film because he was in advertising and realized his favorite past time, diving and looking at sea dragons, was disappearing and he wanted to know why. He then applied his expertise in advertising and applied it to the problems with our environment by improving the “marketing and advertising” so that the story could reach more people and be easier to understand. He used pictures and as a marketer myself, I know how pictures truly do speak a thousand words.
The Blue Zones is about another researcher who wanted to understand why there are certain places in the world where people live to be healthy and happy centurians and don’t experience the same health problems we face today. He found 9 key elements that were consistent and writes about those in his book. He also includes great recipes, many of which are vegetable based, which I appreciate given I realize eating meat is a big driver of our environmental issues today.
WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS DURING YOUR SFS PROGRAM?
The beach and on a dive. These two places are the only places where I truly can relax and reflect. You always see something new, the salt and water heals anything it touches, and it touches every sense (sight, sound, taste, and touch). My family and friends consistently advise me when they see I’m facing the normal adversities in life to plan a trip to the beach. That is because when I return, I’m a new person, each and every time.
IF YOU WERE AN ANIMAL OR PLANT, WHAT KIND WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE? WHY?
I’d be a ray. They are graceful, powerful, playful, and free. And, they live in the warm water with all of the other sea creatures I adore so much. I’d have all my favorites friends with me all the time.
FINISH THIS SENTENCE: RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE…
I feel it taps into important gifts we uniquely have as humans; we apply curiosity to gain knowledge which unleashes solutions to problems we face.