Ever since I was little I’ve had a passion for science. Growing up with a father in engineering, I was always involved in a scientific environment. My father worked on research spaceflight satellites and large lasers; his hard work and determination was an inspiration to me. From my first science fair to my first lab experience, each little stepping stone motivated me to pursue a degree in the science field. Because I have such a strong passion for the environment as well, Environmental Studies became my focus.
My love for marine mammals began when my family vacationed in Pismo Beach, CA. During one of our trips (at the age of 13) I came across a stranded sea lion pup. I was curious as to why this young mammal was near such loud noise (ATV riders were speeding past it). I then called the Marine Mammal Center and awaited their arrival. Watching them rescue this sea lion was an amazing experience. I spoke to the volunteers before they departed and they told me more about the Marine Mammal Center. In return for me calling for their help and keeping an eye on the pup, they named him after me (“Nally”, my last name). At first I was fearful of checking up on him. I feared for the worst, death. After a few months I contacted the Marine Mammal Center and was told about his success story. He was a malnourished pup with no injuries and made a full recovery at their rehabilitation center in Sausalito, CA. I still continue to visit the Marine Mammal Center and focus my studies on environmental issues that have impacts on marine mammals. I hope to one day contribute to making their ecosystems a safer place to reside.
CSU Monterey Bay centers their education system around service in the community. During my upper division service learning class, I was partnered with Surfrider Foundation – Monterey Chapter. Through out the semester I worked with their education coordinator on public outreach projects and beach cleanups. Because I thoroughly enjoyed working with them during that semester, I am continuing to work with them on my Policy Analysis project and Capstone Project. Their overall mission truly speaks to me: “we’re engaged to protect what we love: oceans, waves, and beaches” (see: surfrider.org/pages/mission). I hope to dedicate my life to doing just that, protecting what I love.
Because I have a strong passion for the environment, I love to take every opportunity I have to get outdoors and truly admire it. On my free time I like to visit State Parks to go hiking, go snowboarding in Lake Tahoe, and go on bike rides along Monterey’s bike trail. Additionally, I have a passion for environmental photography. I have very little experience in this field and little time to spend on photography, but I do hope to make a hobby out of this someday so I can share the beauty of California’s central coast with others.