Alumni in Action

Michael Dirks

Grad School Student

Michael Dirks
Class of 2003 | Major: Marine Science, Minor: Chemistry
What opportunities have you had because of your Eckerd education and how have they impacted your life?

Working at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute as a Harmful Algae Bloom technician was a critical introduction to the oceans and human health field. I was fortunate to work there because of an Eckerd contact that I met on a winter term course in Belize.

What does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?

My background in marine science gave me a solid foundation for the environmental science field. I pursued environmental experience in harmful algae bloom research and subsequently working in coral reef conservation and fish market development in Vanuatu, South Pacific with the Peace Corps. These experiences taught me that many of the critical environmental issues are also major public health issues. I'm now employed to evaluate the public health assessments for communities concerned that they are exposed to hazardous waste materials.

Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd:

Kayaking to the bird sanctuary and being startled by a stingray wider than I am tall or a pod of dolphins. I really enjoyed my suitemates from Omega, the tight community, the camaraderie, and the theme parties. Watching summer lightning storms from the sea wall or a balcony, hammocks slung from the overhangs of dorms, river otters or alligators in the ponds, passionate students and colleagues all provided lasting memories.

What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college?

Eckerd was truly an experience to seek the knowledge you thirst for. There were so many opportunities to apply knowledge through working with professors or volunteering with local organizations or through part time internships.

What else should we know about you or what else would you like to share?

Eckerd will challenge you to decide who you want to be, what you want to do and how you are going to make it happen.

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