Alumni in Action
Assistant Biologist, Florida Aquarium
Class of 2013 | Major: Marine Science (Biology track)
Where are you now and what are you doing?
I live in Tampa and work as an Assistant Biologist at the Florida Aquarium on the reef and quarantine team.
What does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?
My job requires me to take care of any sick or new animals to the aquarium. Mostly this consists of fish, sharks, rays, and other lots of different aquatic invertebrates.
Besides providing me with a foundation of knowledge in marine biology, my Eckerd experience was in many ways directly responsible for allowing me the opportunity to work at the aquarium.
What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?
Internships at the Mote Aquaculture Research Lab and the Florida Aquarium helped me get hired at the aquarium. I can't stress enough what a difference maker the lab and field experience that I got from my classes were for me.
Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd.
One of my favorite things about Eckerd is what a unified community we have. When there's a big event on campus, everyone shows up. Palmetto productions seems to do a particularly good job of getting everyone together for great events. Kappa Karnival for example, is always amazingly done.
My personal favorite was the 2013 around the world event. Omega 310 pulled off outer space pretty well if I do say so myself.
What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college? What does it mean to you now that you have been away for awhile?
Besides providing me with an excellent education, Eckerd was a place of nearly complete freedom. At no other college can students or graduates walk everywhere barefoot. And I don't know of many, if any other schools that allow cats and dogs in campus housing. And in all seriousness, who else really has a campus like Eckerd? Our campus lets us live on the beach. Some people work their whole lives to be able to do that. And those are all non-academic things. I can say from experience that Eckerd's science collegium is absolutely amazing.
Describe some of the people who had a profound impact on your Eckerd experience.
A big shout out to my mentor, professor Joel Thompson who helped me out immensely with finding my direction in the marine science field and the same goes for Professor Bruce Barber. His insight into the field of aquaculture was invaluable to where I am now.
Are there core Eckerd values you see in most Eckerd students and graduates?
Acceptance is something that almost everyone at Eckerd seems to have. Beyond that, Eckerd students are as diverse and expressive as can be. It is those things together that contribute to making Eckerd such a great place.
What activities were you involved in while at Eckerd and did they influence what you are involved in now?
I did a lot of athletic activities when I was at Eckerd. I played club lacrosse for 2 years, I was in the jiu jitsu club for 2 years, I played on the rugby team my senior year, and besides all of that I stayed fairly active on my own through running. And while I don't think any of those things really affected my career path at all, they definitely helped me stay in shape. And that's never a bad thing.
Why did you choose Eckerd? What advice would you give students who are considering Eckerd?
Well, I was looking for a school with a good marine science program so I was thinking that Eckerd would be a good fit. Then I saw the campus and I was completely sold.
Using 5 words or less complete this sentence: Eckerd is…
amazing, so live it up.