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Archive for Summer Scholars

Clichés from California

Posted by: | August 27, 2017 | 1 Comment |

My lovely move-in crew to my new home in Monterey.

It amazes me the rate at which humans are capable of adapting. In just one week, I have made the trek from a life on one central coast to the next. I write to you now in California from my new balcony in Monterey. I had a wonderful move-in crew (my family) to help me set up in this new home. In the spirit of a new beginning, I have given myself the allowance to be cliché in reflection with my final blog post.

Oh how I’ve missed the California sun.

This summer has been a challenge. Not only have I learned to engage in interdisciplinary research outside of my normal scope, but I have reformed my ideologies as a person. I am increasingly aware of the social clock, watching all of those I grew up with get engaged, married, and have children. It can be easy to look at these developments of those around you and wonder, “Am I on track?”

From my research perch, all of these things are not yet an option. I am merely focused on my tasks at hand. That being said, this summer’s experience has given me one of the greatest insights into my future ambitions. Though not directly related to my research topics, this internship has caused me to parse out what I want in life from a holistic perspective. I love my career in research. And I want to pursue it.

What a successful summer! Jumping for joy in Astoria, Oregon.

As I begin to pour over my new books, research articles, and course requirements, I feel sentiments of gratitude. Thanks to the skills that I have sharpened this summer, I feel no hesitation to learning new material. After all, if a psychology major can understand the inner workings of national economics and marine policy, then what truly may stand in our way?

I am proud of our work as summer interns. Every REU and Sea Grant scholar I met during my time in Oregon shone bright with potential. I have no doubt that I will encounter them all again, working as colleagues towards a common goal in our appointed fields.

Though I walk away with a certain degree of healthy pride in our overall accomplishments, I believe that humility was one of my own greatest lessons. In being surrounded by such an abundance of remarkable people, I hold a newly found reverence for both passion and intelligence. Even amidst a politically uncertain time, I have hope that those who truly support inquisition and learning will be heard. I walk away from this internship more certain of the importance of research as well as the humble mind that must come with an ever-questioning spirit.

Goodbye Oregon- see you again soon.

Thank you, Sea Grant, for pushing our bounds and asking us to grow. I am leaving this internship a better and more hopeful person than I came. For anyone reading this blog with anticipation, waiting to hear back for next year’s recruitment, I have yet another cliché word of advice. Enter this experience with an open mind in all aspects, whether mentally, physically, socially, or spiritually.

With that, I will leave you. Thank you for reading along with me this summer.

Sarah Ann Coffin



under: sea_cof, Uncategorized

Fairwell for now

Posted by: | August 27, 2017 | 1 Comment |

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind- from preparing and then giving my final symposium presentation, to eclipse chasing, to working the Oregon State Fair, it has been a wild ride.

Let’s back up to week 9. Joe and I had finished our native oyster surveys, which sent us all around the bay to over well over 60 sites. I had helped in developing the qualitative methods, which were for determining the abundance of oysters at a site to a “level”, ranging from absent to high abundance. It is meant to take little time and to be repeatable. I wrote up those methods which will later be used to draft a final report, which I’m pretty excited about. I didn’t get too far with data analysis, because I barely had time to enter it all while also making my poster and final talk, but I do know that compared to the previous 2 studies in ’96 and ’06, there are more oysters in Coos Bay. More work will be done checking previously mitigated sites for successful recruitment and on determining range expansion.

Symposium day was in Newport at the Hatfield Marine Science Center on August 18, 2017. We were required to make a 4×3 foot poster of our summer work and prepare a 5-min talk paired with a visual presentation. Many hours of feedback and editing took place that week, but I was very pleased with my first ever academic poster. I also used Prezi for the first time for my talk (for those of you who don’t know, it’s an online resource that is kind of a step up from PowerPoint, with cool graphics and transitions), and though there were some technical difficulties, it looked great and I feel I still gave a well-delivered, informational talk. After the poster session that afternoon Julia and I took to Rogue Brewery for a celebratory drink to end the semi-stressful day.

Me and my lovely poster, titled “The science behind managing Oregon’s shellfisheries”.

In case you live under a rock, the great American eclipse was this past Monday! So, the day following the symposium Julia and I were headed inland. We were not going to risk staying on the coast and missing totality due to the fog, so in our search for a place to get the best viewing we were lucky enough to be invited to stay with a friend of her sister’s in Salem, OR which fell right in the path of totality (and, is loads warmer and sunnier than the south coast weather we’ve grown tired of). On the way to our final destination, we made a stop north of Newport in Depoe Bay, dubbed the Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast by its visitor association. They have a resident pod of grey whales this time of year that are easily visible right off shore. Armed with Julia’s binoculars we spent over an hour making what must have been hundreds of spout, fluke, and back observations (if I had to guess there were at least a dozen animals there at the time). It was spectacular. 10000/10 would recommend. From there we took a nice drive from the coast through forest to the drier, grassier interior of the state. Julia mandated that we make a pit stop at Burgerville, a local chain that is locally sourced, sporting menu items like a marionberry shake. Again, 10000/10 would recommend. We met up with her family and family friends late that evening and spent Sunday afternoon doing a wonderful, waterfall-filled hike at Silver Falls state park. Monday morning it was time for the big event! We got up early to scope out a prime spot on the neighborhood golf course. We were surprised to find that we were one of only about 7 groups who had staked a claim there, after all the media hype about crowds and traffic and such (seriously, they were treating like a natural disaster- “stock up on food, water, gas, ahh!”). Equipped with our eclipse glasses and breakfast, we watched the entire thing from the start of the partial eclipse till the last bit of the sun peaked its way out from behind the moon. With the eyes of an excited child on Christmas morning, we all ooh-ed and ahh-ed as the temperature around us dropped and darkness began to creep in. We experienced about 2 minutes of totality, and it had everyone awe struck (I’m getting goosebumps writing about it). We popped champagne and toasted to the wonder of the universe. The “diamond ring” shone beautifully and an artificial sunset was created on the horizon. I’m so glad we went, and I think the whole event may have created a new wave of eclipse junkies.

My final week at work involved a couple more oyster surveys with Scott, measuring shrimp, and cleaning up data. On Wednesday, the office threw me a last-day-in -Charleston party, with a very pink heavily frosted chocolate cake. It was very sweet (the sentiment and the pastry). Thursday I made my last drive up 101 to Newport, as I’d be spending my last day of the program on Friday working the first shift at the ODFW shellfish display at the Oregon State Far! The 3-hr drive didn’t annoy me as much as the past few trips, being that it was the last time I’d be doing it. I listened to NPR and took in all the beauty and grandeur of the coast, and was very content. Upon arriving in Newport I met up with Liz, Ylva, and Graham and together we packed the trailer with display stuff, gallons upon gallons of frozen sea water, and the animals. We got to the fairgrounds in Salem late in the afternoon and between unloading, set up, and making sure the animals would be fine overnight (aka making sure the pump and chiller systems were operating correctly) it was a long day. We had dinner and finally got back to Liz’s where I was also staying at around 9 pm. It was all worth it though because we did not walk into a disaster Friday morning, the animals were A-OK, and we were able to finish setting up and even take a breather before the fair opened at 10:00. I had a blast working the exhibit; donning my very official beige button up, I talked to many Oregonians young and old for about 4 hours. We had an estimated 600 people (that’s a conservative estimate) during that time. I had some very meaningful interactions, including talking to an older gentleman about invasive green crabs and teaching a brave little girl how to hold and sex a crab- she got so comfortable with it, she began teaching others. I’m very happy to have gotten a taste of outreach experience (shout out to Liz for letting me crash family weekend, as her daughter was turning 3 and her parents were in town).

This weekend, I’m accompanying Julia on her drive home up to Seattle. Yesterday we stopped in Portland to check out Powell’s books and grab some food, and then made our way to Mount St. Helen’s! Such a cool place, full of interesting history and amazing landscapes. Shoutout to Julia for being my travel companion and closest friend throughout my time in Oregon, this summer wouldn’t have been the same without you. And to her family for opening their home to me and letting me pet their dogs.

I am very VERY excited to be home in a few days, but this summer has been a memorable and enriching experience for me and my career. I’ve gained skills and made connections that I know will benefit me greatly in the future, and I’m ready for whatever comes my way.


Over and out,


under: Summer Scholars

So Long, Farewell…

Posted by: | August 25, 2017 | 1 Comment |

I wish my departure could have been as graceful as this but that’s just not my style (;

As many have written the last week was packed full of awesomeness. I had to depart early to begin my graphic design courses (which I already love!) but I was lucky enough to stay for the weekend as well as experience the eclipse.

I must admit that I’m a little disappointed the world didn’t end there wasn’t an insane overflow of crowds. The commotion and chaos is part of the fun, right? Either way the entire event was probably one of the top 3 greatest things I’ll ever have gotten to see in my life. A few friends of mine from Berkeley were able to make the drive up and join us as we made the drive to Corvallis early Monday morning. We made an ever so important stop at Dutch Bros and hustled our way to Bald Hill near the fairgrounds to gather as the sky went dark. As the air began to chill and the sky dimmed I felt so so lucky to have ended up right in the center of totality this summer.

Many of my peers know I didn’t have the easiest summer. I struggled with homesickness a lot and missed California immensely. Hot summer days and warm nights are something I look forward to every year and I felt that lacking with the crispness of the coastal Oregon air. What I will say, though, is that the Oregon coast does hold a very special place in my heart. On my last day I made myself think about all the things I will miss about Newport and the OSG program to remind myself that I was incredibly privileged to have this opportunity.

First off, I will greatly miss the ecosystem that Hatfield is surrounded by. The little bridge along the estuarine walk was one of my favorite places to watch the sunset on a clear night. The grooves underneath the bridge were either filled to the brim with the high tide or scarred the Earth when the tides were low. The salty sour smell that would drift over to the dorms in the morning was incredibly nostalgic for me and always brought back memories of the Elkhorn Slough near my house. Although the weather drove me crazy I knew it contributed to such a unique little world that we lived in for the summer.

Second, I will miss Fred Meyer. I know this sounds ridiculous but I get extreme enjoyment out of grocery shopping. The selection was always impressive and the cashiers were always kind. Safeway will never be the same (and I don’t think there’s such thing as Californian hospitality…)

Third, I will miss that bridge. Its size never failed to surprise me as I crossed it everyday to go to work. It was oddly elegant for being so massive and it added so much charm to Newport. It really was iconic there’s nothing like it out here in the Central Valley.

Fourth, I will miss the palace that is the Muscle Studio. What a great gym. I made so much progress this summer and looked forward to lifting every single day at this place. Full of such cool and interesting people that loved to workout and chat. It was such a unique environment and I WILL return to get my name on their lifter wall once I hit my goals.

Lastly and most importantly I will miss the people and all of our adventures. Meg turned out to be an incredible mentor and someone I would call my friend. The OSG staff was so encouraging and kind every step of the way, I never felt alone because of them. All the REUs became our teammates this summer, especially Angelina who was our house mom. And each Sea Grant Scholar brought something so unique to the group. Jeremy is a fascinating person and I wish we all had more time with him, Julia coordinated an entire trip for us to go to Crater Lake as a fam, Katie was so upbeat and positive, Dustin was 100% my favorite dude to have a conversation with, Catie’s artistic abilities blew me away, Sarah is one of the most brilliant and dedicated people I’ve ever met, Neal is ridiculous and I don’t have any other way to say that, Zach is the other half to Neal so you can figure that one out (add a couple inches and mean volleyball skillz), and Allie’s greatness is only measurable by the amount of post-run and pre-breakfast ice cream feasts I witnessed her have this summer (there were many).

Thank you all so much for a memorable summer and your endless encouragement. I wish you all the best and leave you with this piece of advice: Blue raspberry 5 hour energy and sour patch kids are the secret to long car rides and ultimate life success, don’t forget it.

Oh and here’s my poster lol, CHEERS TO THAT!!!

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @orkingtide (:


under: sea_haye, Summer Scholars

When I left you last week, I was still a little behind, having just finished describing my sister’s wedding. Now, I find myself woefully behind once more. Maggie’s wedding is old news, so now we can go back to what’s really important, me (kidding, Maggie, I’m kidding).

After my whirlwind weekend trip back home, I returned to a whirlwind week of work. On Tuesday (two weeks ago today) I returned to the field for some more intertidal surveying. A brief recap of why we survey in the intertidal zone is probably warranted here. We are collaborating with Oregon State University and PISCO to survey sea-star wasting disease (SSWD) in Oregon’s Marine Reserves. SSWD is a gruesome infection which can cause sea-stars to lose limbs and disintegrate into the rock. It recently re-emerged on the west coast and our surveys help to determine the severity of the outbreak (mostly in the species Pisaster ochraceus, thus the title). So, last week I led a group of volunteers out into the field. Though the disease is a serious one, the survey process itself is a blast. Basically, you wake up before sunrise, throw on some ill-fitting boots and uncomfortable waterproof pants, and try not to slip and fall on rocks and kelp for 3 or 4 hours. Awesome, right! It really is. I love being out in the field and getting my hands dirty trying to find tiny sea stars.

Gotta have a good eye to find these guys.

Fortunately, my volunteers did as well. My volunteer pool is basically the other summer interns living at Hatfield Marine Science Center. All of them are passionate scientists and most are accustomed to fieldwork, which makes them stellar sea-star surveyors. I’m really grateful for all of their help and how excited they are to lend a hand. Additionally, after the survey we all went for some of those legendary cinnamon rolls I raved about in my previous blog post. Great day.

I spent most of the rest of the week toiling on my final presentation. This involved a lot of work in excel cleaning up datasets, punching in numbers, running stats, and making graphs that looked pretty. Sounds a little tedious, but all in all not a bad gig. Remember, I’m a nerd, so data analysis is actually pretty cool to me. In addition, I authored another installment of my SMURF blog and power-washed some SMURFs. This was all done in anticipation of the weekend though.

Last weekend (weekend of the 12th) was the Seaside Volleyball Tournament, aka my opportunity to make all that time spent playing beach volleyball this summer finally count. Turns out I love volleyball. I’ve never played it competitively before this summer unless you count 5th grade gym class when I broke Nick Hipple’s glasses (sorry Nick), but this summer it’s been my main afterwork pastime. Early in the summer, three of my coworkers and I signed up to play in the Seaside Tournament, the largest amateur tournament in the world. My three teammates have all played competitively before and are super talented bumpers, setters, and spikers. Me? I’m tall. That was pretty much the only qualification that got me on the team. But I’ve played a lot this summer and I’d like to think I’ve improved. At least, Megan make fun of me less now than she did before.

Anyways back to the tournament. Our team was named “Pretty Good” in honor of our talent level, but we played like champions.

Still working on getting the Pretty Good high-five down

We utterly smashed “BBJ” and “stone cold chillerz” in our first two games of pool play (coincidentally, “stone cold chillerz” is my least favorite team name ever). In our third game of pool play we played the best game of our lives but lost a barn-burner to “Topher Rocks” (Topher did, in fact, rock). Finally, we bowed out in the knockout round against one of last year’s champions and his new team, the AJs. Major props go to Sawyer for being 6’6” and raining death and destruction down on our opponents from above. Megan’s sets were so perfect that even I couldn’t mess some of them up. Gabby worked harder than all the rest of us combined, and was covered in sand constantly as a result. For my part, I didn’t screw up too much. The real MVP though was our cheering section. Almost the entire intern population of Hatfield trekked up to Seaside with us and screamed their heads off in support. Legendary. Always nice to take a break from all the science to enjoy some sports.

The Real MVPs.

BUT. Anyhow, back to the science. I’ve now made it up to the beginning of last week! This week was supposed to be entirely consumed by working on my final poster/presentation, but somehow other stuff kept coming up. First of all, though, last Monday we had an ODFW Marine Reserves cookout after work partially in honor of Neal, Sarah, and I coming to the end of our program. It was a great reminder of how awesome the people I’ve worked with this summer are. The Marine Reserves team is full of brilliant scientists who are also genuinely cool people. There are plenty of graduate degrees spread amongst them, as well as plenty of experiences living in countries all over the world. Conversation topics range from “how to succeed in science” to “how awesome was Game of Thrones last night??” It’s a great group of people to work with and learn from.

Back at work, I worked on my poster and presentation, but also spent an entire day road-tripping down to Port Orford to collect SMURF samples. Not a lot of work got done on my personal agenda that day, but I’m a big fan of throwing on some podcasts and driving so I consider it a success. My project did come together eventually though! With the help of my aforementioned co-workers, I put together what I believe was a solid presentation for our final symposium last Friday, as well as a nice poster. The symposium was a cool event in that it gave us an opportunity to share what we’ve worked so hard on all summer, and also learn from the other Sea Grant Scholars at the same time. My fellow Sea Grants are a pretty impressive group of people – incredibly smart and incredibly dedicated to their fields, which extend beyond just marine ecology. Definitely an awesome group that I’m proud to be a part of.

Dang I’m gonna miss Oregon’s coast.

under: sea_cle

A Few Words of Sentiment

Posted by: | August 17, 2017 | 2 Comments |

In a flurry of completing my materials for our final symposium, I have sorely neglected my blog. Perhaps it was for the best, as the past few days have brought with them a bright and cheery outlook.

Tomorrow is the big day! By noon my fellow Sea Grant scholars and I will have gathered at the Hatfield Marine Science Center for our final research presentation.

Poster presentation tomorrow from 2:30-3:30pm…wish us luck!

For once my nerves seemed to have checked their bags at the door. Perhaps it is the adequate preparation or simply the brilliant company that makes my mind peaceful in the face of public speaking. It is amazing the degree of familiarity that can be attained amongst peers in only nine weeks. Though I am eager to begin a new semester of classes, I will miss the interactions and relationships I have built here.

Though infrequently mentioned in the recalling of experiences such as this, some of my favorite memories have been those made at home. My roommates are characters.

Women of science.

Upon arriving, I knew I would be surrounded with inquisitive minds, but I did not expect them to be paired with such great humor. From broken hands and workout rants, to an enthusiasm for Game of Thrones like I’ve never seen, my roommates are a blast. Many a night was spent discussing topics both lighthearted and heavy in nature. I am filled with gratitude for the respect each one of them has shown towards themselves and others.

During my undergraduate education, many professors have mentioned challenges women still face in populating the scientific field. Though this may be the case, the strength and confidence with which my roommates and coworkers approach their research is inspiring. It is refreshing to be surrounded by such diligence and enthusiasm.

Years into the future, I am sure we will look back fondly on the days we all packed like sardines into bunk beds in the name of science.

Though I hate to cut it short, it is time to practice presentations! I can’t wait to hear the findings of my peers. I’ve been direly missing statistics. In closing, Oregon is amazing. I can confidently say that I will leave here a better and more well rounded person than when I came.

Day one of my backyard garden.

Day three yielded sprouts!

Day five…at this rate I will see them bloom.

under: sea_cof

Much Ado About… Everything

Posted by: | August 17, 2017 | 1 Comment |

As part of wrapping up my summer here with the Coastal Management Program my mentor suggested I make a list of everything related to the King Tides project that still needs to be completed. Unfortunately, due to babies being born and vacations being had, we didn’t have all the right people in the right place at the right time, but alas! The work will still [hopefully] get done. The photo project is also an annual and ongoing initiative therefore there will always be SOMETHING to do.

Seeing as that I am one post behind on my blogging I figured I’d use this to kill two birds with one stone. Or as a vegan would say: cut two carrots with one knife (tho that seems like a much easier feat to accomplish).

 La da da da data!

(please play sound clip for reference)

Currently all the data we have (location, direction, time, photographer name) about the photos on this iteration of the map is in a different format from the future data that will be generated via our new survey platform, Survey123. My hope was to have access to this data sooner than my last week and really have time to clean it up, but now we’ve done what we could to put a dent in it and will take this as a chance to learn about what should be done moving forward.

We have about 415 photos that need to be individually viewed and placed at their correct location because they were uploaded and plotted without a lat/long. These photos come from a batch of 1065 photos spanning from 2009 to 2015. These points, along with the others on the current map containing all the data from the 2015/16 and 2016/17 (about 1,800 total), will then be combined to form a final map with EVERYTHING FINALLY IN ITS PLACE! I plan to check back as the season approaches to see if progress is made towards this awesome end goal.

Once there is a final map the photos can be re-downloaded and placed into the corresponding albums on Flickr since we are moving away from the jumbled photo stream. Tip for Flickr users: you can’t add other people’s photos to your oh-so-beautifully organized albums /: A problem we encountered early on that may be resolved some time in the future.


As the season approaches it’s important to keep people engaged and up to date with what we’re doing. Continuing to post to Instagram, Twitter, and FB will help remind people of the upcoming season and encourage them to participate.

I’ve been able to schedule a handful of Facebook posts starting now and finishing all the way after the end of the season in January (who knew you could do that!) They include links to our social media platforms and helpful pages on our website. Directing people to specific info instead of the entire website will hopefully draw their attention get them to keep coming back.

Meg is awesome with the Twitter account while Instagram was always my thing, so I’m drafting a bunch of Instagram posts for her so that they’re ready to once the season picks up! One thing I’ve done is chopped up the video I made for the site into little bits that can be posted one at a time. The longer video is on our FAQ page, but if you want to check it out I’ve linked it below!


(another great reference that I hope you’re all familiar with)

One of the last things to be done as the season approaches is to send out all the emails to our updated PR list. Overtime I gathered information about popular Oregon photographers and Public Works people who may be interested in participating in the project. They are two very different groups of people but both are relevant! We’re hoping to get some great stock images from the photographers while the Public Works people may be more familiar with the infrastructure damage and erosion that comes with the King Tides.

In the end I’m hoping another intern can come in quite soon and pick up where I left off. During the season there will be much more work to be done and this summer we’ve built a great foundation.

Cheers to Snoop Dogg, Blue’s Clues, and my second to last blog post. The end (and apocECLIPSE) is near!

under: sea_haye, Summer Scholars, Uncategorized

I’ve fallen behind. Oh no. These past couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind, as you’ll soon see. So I’ll break them down a little bit into two blog posts to make them more digestible for your reading material. Before I begin, I want to briefly discuss the post of one of my colleagues. In his recent post entitled, An Office, Cinnamon Buns and… Field Work??, Neal Tyson spends a full paragraph discussing the merits of Fishtails Café’s cinnamon roll deserves this much attention, right? WRONG. I consider myself to be somewhat of a connoisseur of breakfast pastries. Growing up, my cousin and I feasted ourselves on Walmart bakery donuts every time I visited him. While studying abroad in the Galápagos, I must have spent over one hundred dollars purchasing one specific type of donut from the local bakery. Each one coast $1.50, you do the math. It’s fair to say that I know my way around a cinnamon roll. And let me tell you, so does Fishtails Café. From the moment you feast your eyes upon it to the moment you take the last bite, it’s as if nothing else matters in the word. Not the calorie count, or the sugar content, or the years this cinnamon roll is probably taking off your life. During this time, everything is bliss. Neal and I have already hatched some schemes to get rich off of selling this cinnamon bun if this whole scientist thing doesn’t work out. Honestly, if you try it, you’ll understand.

But I digress, when I wasn’t stuffing my face with cinnamon rolls, I was extremely busy the past few weeks. If you recall, when we left off I had just returned from an amazing camping trip at Crater Lake. Let me begin by elaborating a little bit on that trip. It rocked. Leaving work slightly early on a Friday afternoon, I piled into a small car for a nice five-hour road trip with some fellow Sea Grant Scholars and REUs here at Hatfield Marine Science Center. The Airbnb where we were staying was, interesting. It was a farm run by two guys living out of a school bus on the property and we slept on a dirt road. Actually, I slept in the car because it turns out you can’t really fit five fully grown adults in a three-person tent. Undeterred by our living conditions, we set out the next day to see what this whole Crater Lake thing was all about.


Spectacular. Kind of like the Redwoods, you can’t fully capture the beauty of Crater Lake in a photo or with words. It’s entrancing treading water and looking down to see nothing but the deepest of blues as far as your eye can see. In fact, it’s a little frightening swimming out in the open water of the Lake. At nearly 2000 feet deep, there’s a whole lot of nothing below you… Along with the lake we did some swimming in the nearby Rogue River (much to the chagrin of the nearby fishermen) and feasted on local cuisine. All and all a fantastic weekend.


This was followed up by a very short but productive work week. First on my agenda was working on my final project for the summer. However, prior to that, I needed to decide what my final project for the summer was going to be. As you may have observed, my position this summer has been quite diverse. Instead of focusing on one research question and devoting all of my time and energy to that, I have been all over the place. It has been an incredible real-world experience where I feel that my efforts have truly been put to use in benefitting the goals of the ODFW Marine Reserves Program.

Redfish Rocks, one of the Marine Reserves I’ll be discussing in my presentation.

Instead of just an internship for the sake of another category on the resume, this summer has been all about really experiencing what it’s like to work in the field of marine ecology. It’s been fantastic, but at the end I still need a nice final presentation to wrap it all up. I won’t go into much detail on this project now, but with the help of my mentors I eventually came to the decision of presenting on the difference in fish recruitment inside and outside Oregon’s Marine Reserves. This project will use the data we’ve gathered from the SMURFs throughout this summer (remember what a SMURF is?).

Along with working on my final project, I also spent a lot of time writing my latest installment of the ODFW SMURF blog. This was originally just a small task for me to take on over the summer. Each week I’d summarize the weekly SMURFing outing and provide a couple fun facts about the SMURF team or SMURFing in general. However, I found out that I love writing these posts, and the mini project has escalated substantially. Now every post I write includes awesome information that has been proofread by the entire SMURF team of collaborators, which includes ODFW scientists as well as Oregon State professors. The result is a pretty sweet post each week chalk full of SMURF science and plenty of SMURF puns. I kind of can’t help myself with the SMURF puns, there’s just so much to work with there! I highly suggest you check them out at http://oregonmarinereserves.com/news/. If you know me and read one, you’ll probably be able to distinguish my writing voice. I can’t help but put my own stamp on scientific communication.


Lastly, I mentioned that the week was a short one. This was because I took Thursday and Friday off to fly all the way back home to Ohio. Why travel twenty-five hundred miles to spend just one weekend back home? My sister got married! This has nothing to do with my Sea Grant experience, really, but I’m still going to give a brief shoutut to Maggie’s wedding. I love the heck out of Maggie. She and my eldest sister, Elise (whom I also love the heck out of), never passed up on an opportunity to torment me with annoying songs or nicknames, but they also taught me a whole lot and shaped me into who I am today. On August 5th I watched Maggie marry an awesome man. I’ve gotten to know Josh well over the past four years and he’s a man I’m overjoyed to call my brother. At the wedding, they were so happy. I was so happy. Everyone was so happy. Words fail yet again. I’d wish them a happy future together, but I already know they’ll have one regardless of what I type here. So all I’ll say is congratulation Mrs. and Mr. Keegan, you deserve every ounce of joy that marriage brings you.

Jeezum crow doesn’t it look beautiful? I’m the groomsman third from the right. Thankfully this photo’s far enough away that you can’t see my very manly tears.

On that note, I’ll leave you. More will be forthcoming shortly about my adventures of the past week or so. Stay tuned.

under: sea_cle

North Coast Best Coast

Posted by: | August 13, 2017 | 2 Comments |

Stop One: Nehalem

This week I was lucky enough to take two trips up the North Coast for both work and fun. The first place I headed was Nehalem to get some pictures of the area at an average high tide. During the most extreme King Tide events the streets of Nehalem can end up slightly flooded from the Nehalem River rising, like this:

Nehalem during a King Tide

My goal was to gather a handful of the pictures from our Flickr account that have been taken in Nehalem over the past six years and duplicate them at average tide, like this:

Nehalem during an average high tide

The drive was long but I enjoyed getting to see more of Oregon, especially since I’ll be leaving the program a week early to start school. I was disappointed that the shop with vegan ice cream was closed (along with most other things on Mondays and Tuesdays up there) but I did find this cute little spot to enjoy the river and eat some fries before heading home. Little did I know we’d make our way back through Nehalem the same weekend and I’d get to try that ice cream after all.

Riverside N’ Chips

Stop Two: Astoria and Seaside

A childhood favorite of mine.

Although Friday morning I woke up feeling under the weather and not very optimistic about the day it turned into the beginning to a great weekend. That night the group convinced me to head over to Rogue and check out the “Dogs & Brews” event. There were pups galore and it’s always good for me to get out of the dorm and socialize. Unfortunately I can’t find my camera adapter, but when I do I’ll add the video of a wonderful husky named Orion that our entire group fell in love with.

The next day we headed up to a motel in Astoria in anticipation of the volleyball tournament a few of the interns had entered in. I discovered that Astoria is where The Goonies was set and filmed and was SO EXCITED to see the Goonie house until we got to the driveway. Whoever owns it now has a sign up asking people to stay away. Party poopers. I was still thrilled to be in the area and see all the references to the film in little shops around town. We had a great meal at an Indian restaurant, got caught in the rain, found a random piano, and soaked in the hot tub for a bit before crashing out.

The next morning we drove down to Seaside to watch Zach, Megan, Gabby, and Sawyer play in the volleyball tournament. I’ll let Zach tell you more about that one though because he was one of the true stars of the show. Overall it was a great beach day but definitely made me miss the California beaches of my childhood. Seaside reminded me so much of Santa Cruz and all the time I spent there growing up.

The Home Stretch

With my departure being next Tuesday I am officially beginning my last full week here as a scholar. I am anxious to be back and FINALLY settle into a place with some permanence. For the last two years it always seemed like I was packing a bag to go somewhere, whether it was for the weekend or for the semester. I’m excited to have a steady home and some HOT weather!

The last big thing that I’m working on is a video for the Oregon King Tides website. It’s nothing too fancy but I’ve really enjoyed putting it all together and hope you all have a chance to see it before the end of summer! Cheers to the last week and to my favorite weekend yet.

View from Crest Motel in Astoria.

under: sea_haye, Summer Scholars

Enzo & Hank

Posted by: | August 13, 2017 | 1 Comment |

It’s week 8 and I’ve made 2 wonderful furry friends- Enzo the Border Collie and Hank the Australian Shepherd.
They are the family dogs of the Groth family, whom I have been house sitting for since the start of the month. Scott, one of my mentors at ODFW is ironically vacationing in our hometown of Rochester, NY, and asked me before he left to take care of their house, dogs, bearded dragon lizard, fish, and plants for about two weeks. He and his wife showed me around the place and gave me the run down on my duties. They put me up in their lovely guest room and gave me full use of their Prius and all the amenities (including hot tub and even more importantly, food and laundry ~lol). Not a bad gig, huh?

I quickly learned that taking care of a home isn’t as easy as it seems, and since I had a lot of things to remember to do on any given day (fetch the mail, give the dog his meds, etc) I resourcefully made a spreadsheet calendar to check off daily tasks- as any scientist would do. But really, the responsibilities have been a breeze, especially given the fact that through this whole thing I’ve gotten to play with doggies!

Hank is an old boy, he is almost fully deaf and blind. But he’s a real sweetie and takes his meds just fine morning and night (disguised in a piece of cheese or peanut butter of course). He’s a simple guy who very much enjoys food, and has mastered the new doggie door they bought right before their trip. In the past week he’s been uncharacteristically energetic, running to the door with Enzo when I utter that coveted phrase “You wanna go out?”. Walks with the two of them are funny because I’ve basically got Enzo on one leash pulling up front an Hank on the other slowly moseying behind, stopping to smell all the smelly smells. And, I may be crazy, but I swear Hank can sometimes see where I throw the ball. But it’s about 2% of the time, and even when I drop it at his paws it usually goes unnoticed. It remains a mystery.

Enzo, the younger, hyperactive half of the pair has been my real buddy the past couple weeks. He’s the cutest lil bugger, who greets me at the door and sleeps at my bedside. We’ve been on a few adventures to different parks and hikes after work and on weekends, and he makes the big house feel a lot cozier. He’s got these crazy eyes that are just hysterical, and his deeply ingrained herding skills come out anytime a ball is in the mix. He’s the fastest dog I’ve ever seen, and is relentless at fetch (I call it “fetch”but really he only brings the ball 50%-75% of the way back to me, so it’s exercise for the both of us). We only stop playing when I’ve decided he’s definitely too tired and needs a break, if it were up to him he’d run till his feet bled.
It’s been so nice having them around, they are the highlight of my day. I’m going to have puppy withdrawals (and miss the use of the car) when Scott gets back on Wednesday.

As for work I spent a whoooole lot of time on the water this week with Joe conducting our native oyster surveys- more on that later (maybe even with some results!).

I’ve been applying for jobs and internships and fervently trying to find a balance between pursuing my career goals- which right now pretty much keeps me poor and away from home-  and what my heart wants- which is to spend some time with my family and friends and save money. I actually just completed a very successful interview for an AmeriCorps position with the Coos Watershed Association, which is the perfect balance of the outreach/education and science in the form of fish biology. But, it would require me to make the leap of moving across the country at the end of the month (!!!) and making barely enough money to break even for 11 months. I’m quite conflicted, but I am also excited by all the opportunities I’ve been finding.

Anyway, here are some cute dog pictures.

Enzo at Blacklock Point (such a good poser)

Hank dozin'

Enzo giving crazy eyes

The ball literally sank... was not expecting that



under: Summer Scholars

There is nothing I love more than a new perspective. My most recent shift came in the form of a text from my best friend Mahala, with whom I’ve been inseparable since junior high school. Knowing that she has always dreamed of starting a family of her own, I was not surprised to open my phone earlier this summer to a text saying, “Sarah, guess what? Tom proposed!”

“’Sarah, guess what? Tom proposed!’”

Quickly thereafter, there were engagement pictures and wedding plans galore. As the weeks have gone by and the examination hundreds of “dusty rose” colored bridesmaid dresses has continued, I have noticed a shift in mentality. In the typical nature of planning ahead, our thinking has become predominantly futuristic.

Perhaps I am ahead of myself, but I cannot help but wonder, “What type of world will Tom and Mahala’s children enter into in the coming years?” As a young adult still in my undergraduate education, this question has (up until this point) been relatively foreign to me.

A bit of reading revealed that I am not alone in my question. The concern I felt for the well-being of my friends’ future children is referred to by literature as altruistic concern (5). Altruistic concern is separate from other types of concern, in that it is motivated by care for others instead of self. This care for others has been shown to inspire action through increased helping behaviors, referred to by the literature as prosocial behaviors (2). 

Prosocial behaviors, such as donating time or funds to a social cause, have an end goal of benefitting others in society (2). With biologically driven survival instincts in mind, prosocial behaviors play a role in preserving the health, well-being, and continuance of the human race.

With subsequent content to appease my social concerns, I then turned to an environmental context. Though research is still sparse, studies have shown that a similar model of concern to behavior has been found towards the natural environment (4,1). According to Stern and Dietz (1994), environmental altruistic concern is the concern one has for nature with others outside of themselves in mind.

For example, an individual with high altruistic concern may wonder, “How can we take care of the environment so that my children/the community/ others can enjoy it?” In a natural resource management context, the question may then become, “How can we conserve these resources to sustain future children/ communities/ others?” 

Environmental altruistic concern has also been shown to lead to an increase in reported beneficial behavioral change, known as pro-environmental behaviors (6). These behaviors include recycling as well as providing donations to environmental causes (6).

Though I have done research on these topics before, never have they been so relevant to me. As I move through this transitional phase of young adulthood, I am reminded that I and those around me are slowly assuming responsibility for the generations of the future. What type of concern will we have towards social and environmental issues? More importantly, will we impart these prosocial and pro-environmental behaviors on the generations to follow? Stay tuned for the answer!

In closing, I would like to congratulate the soon-to-be Tom and Mahala Disney. I love you both dearly. Thank you for bringing personal relevance to my research this summer and reminding me of the importance of applied studies for generations to come.

“I would like to congratulate the soon-to-be Tom and Mahala Disney.”



  1. Berenguer, J. (2007). The Effect of Empathy in Proenvironmental Attitudes and Behaviors. Environment And Behavior, 39(2), 269-283.
  1. Davis, M. H. (2015). Empathy and prosocial behavior. In D. A. Schroeder, W. G. Graziano, D. A. Schroeder, W. G. Graziano (Eds.) , The Oxford handbook of prosocial behavior (pp. 282-306). New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.
  1. Kim, S., & Kou, X. (2014). Not all empathy is equal: How dispositional empathy affects charitable giving. Journal Of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 26(4), 312-334.
  1. Schultz, P.W. (2000). Empathizing with nature: The effects of perspective taking on concern for environmental issues. Journal of Social Issues, 56 (3), 391-406.
  1. Stern, P. C., & Dietz, T. (1994). The value basis of environmental concern. Journal of Social Issues, 50, 65–84.
  1. Tam, K. (2015). Mind attribution to nature and proenvironmental behavior. Ecopsychology, 7(2), 87-95.


under: sea_cof

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