Unlike many other marine science students, I was fixed on a career in medicine prior to starting college, so I was looking for a different field of study that would let me broaden my horizons. I remember comingacross the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences when I perusedthrough the list ofdepartments in SEBS tofind a major I was interested in. The first thing to catch my attention wasthe international research opportunities. I was already interested in doing research at the university level, but being able to travel and experience different countries and cultures at the same timewas the cherry on top. The small student to facultyratio of the department also impressed me, as I knew I would be getting personalized advisingand easy access to professors outside of class. On top of that, the department’s course offerings had great variety, and many courses integrated field experience into their curricula, which I thought provided a great way for students to practice what they learn.

Four years later, now with a marine biology degree in hand, I look back on what made me want to study marine sciences at Rutgers. The marine sciences curriculum provided me with some awesome, uniqueopportunities to go out on the waterand learn about the basics of marine field work. Though the pandemichalted all travel opportunities, I was glad to see that many of my friends were able to capitalize on research trips to the Caribbean, Asia, and even Antarcticaprior to travel restrictions. But perhaps what I found most invaluable were the department connections I made, facilitated by the close community feel of DMCS.I got my first job in freshman yearwith the department’s education and outreach team, having the privilege of working with Janice McDonnell and her awesome group. What initially started as a semester-long project turned into several years of helping with various projects and grantsfor the team. This job also opened up many new relationships for me. Throughout these years, I often worked togetherwith Kasey Walsh, another marine science student who became one of my best friends in college. Janice also was able to put me in contactwith one of her colleagues, Kay Bidle, to let me get my feet wet with research. Under the guidance ofKay,co-principal investigator Kim Thamatrakoln, and post-doc Chana Kranzler, I was able to study the impact of marine diatomson carbon sequestrationfor two years. The relationships I made through the department were a large part of my great experience studying marine biology at Rutgers. Wherever I may end up, I’m proud to call myself agraduate of the Rutgers Oceanography program!