When I first decided to apply for the Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars Program, one of my initial thoughts was “Itʻs only ten weeks — I can go without surf for that long.” I soon began think of other fun summer activities on Oʻahu that I would be missing and convinced myself that I exploring the unknown in Oregon was a much better use of my time. I was right.
The past ten weeks have been absolutely amazing and went by way too fast. One of the best parts about working with HRAP was that I used so much of what I learned in school when answering visitors’ questions. Ironically, most of the questions were biology or geology related — I specialized in chemistry. I also found myself explaining the State and Federal laws that protect the wildlife and habitat at Haystack Rock. Knowing the details of specific regulations not only gave me a certain amount of authority, which can be helpful when you are not actual law enforcement, but also helped me to explain the importance of what is being protected. Overall, the experience that HRAP provided me was the perfect opportunity for me to successfully apply marine science and policy to educating the public.
This summer, I also learned a lot about myself. My travel has been very limited in the past six years that I have been in school. I forgot how exhilarating new terrain can be. These ten weeks spent in Oregon reminded me that I am capable of independent travel and the unknown is often more exciting than scary. I will miss my weekend escapades to Portland, Seattle, Longview, and Newport, and being able to choose the route I had not driven yet.
Prior to this summer, I had never really spent much time on the Eastern Pacific Coastline. Sure, I have lived in San Francisco and surfed a little in Santa Cruz but other than that I have had a blind spot in the area. Getting to see what the coastline looks like from Newport to Astoria, and even further North in Ilwaco and Long Beach, was such a treat and I looked forward to exploring more of the coastline in the future.