Introducing Isaac Olson

Posted on behalf of Isaac Olson

I recently completed my time as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, where I studied Oceanography and Environmental Studies. Throughout my college career, I have studied a variety of coastal anthropogenic stressors, including ocean acidification (OA), harmful algal blooms, and microplastics. Communication, environmental justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion principles are central tenets of both my research and community work. Recently, I interned with NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, helping create a variety of regionalized OA communication and education materials as a Hollings Scholar.

This summer, I will be interning with the Oregon Coastal & Ocean Information Network (OCOIN), a partnership between Portland State University, Oregon State University, Oregon’s Coastal and Marine Data Network, and Oregon Coastal Management Program. Specifically, I will work to enhance the Oregon coastal and ocean information-policy network through a variety of outreach and tech-support projects, including by contributing to OCOIN’s outreach materials, research platform, and website. There will be a focus on equitable data sharing and sovereignty, something particularly exciting to me as a proponent of increased diversity and justice in the geosciences.

Enjoying sunrise in Anchorage, Alaska

Introducing Rana Almassmoum

Posted on behalf of Rana Almassmoum

My name is Rana and I am a junior studying marine studies with a minor in natural resources at Oregon State University. I am from Saudi Arabia but moved to Oregon for school a few years ago. Having spent my whole life along the coast, the ocean has always held a special place in my heart. I have fond memories of exploring the tide pools, fishing, and gazing out at the endless ocean horizon. Eventually, those memories inspired me to come to OSU, hoping to learn more about coastal studies in a different region. Given the global threats facing our coasts, I decided to concentrate my studies on coastal management and policy to strike a balance between ecosystem protection and public access. I hope to play a vital role in protecting coastal areas and allow others to develop the same sense of wonder for our oceans that I discovered as a child.

This summer, I am excited to take on an internship with ICAN that is focused on coastal management and global collaborations. This experience will help strengthen my existing skills and knowledge while exposing me to new areas that can benefit my grad school application as well as my career path. With this internship, I hope to gain the necessary experience that will allow me to work directly with global ocean initiatives, supporting the implementation of management strategies that will drive significant positive change for our coasts. 


Rana Almassmoum

Introducing Samantha Dillard

Posted on behalf of Samantha Dillard

My name is Samantha Dillard and I am an incoming senior at Oregon State University. I am studying Marine Studies and minoring in Marine Conservation and Management. I have grown to love writing, researching coastal communities, working with the public, and learning about marine mammals. Many of my classes this year have been about efficient science communication and its application for public use. I want to work with policy creation and including varying stakeholders into the climate change conversation. I have always been passionate about ocean science and am excited to learn more about the people’s side of protecting these resources.

Working with OCOIN this summer, I hope to gain professional experience in the conservation field, and relevant work skills. I am hoping to strengthen my communication skills with a variety of professionals. In my free time, I enjoy tide pooling, reading, and going on hikes!

Please let me know if there is anything else you will need from me! I look forward to this summer and meeting the rest of the team.


Samantha Dillard

Introducing Ari Arellano

Posted on behalf of Ari Arellano

My journey into stem has been anything but linear. Born and raised in the Great Lakes State, it’s no wonder why I have always found solace being in or around water.  I knew from a young age that I wanted to work protecting our natural environment but I never imagined that it would be a possibility, that was, until I moved to Oregon.

Through pure hard work, dedication and determination I was able to land an internship with a local engineering firm, where I was introduced and mainly worked using spatial data and GIS. I currently work as a communications coordinator for a network of STEM hubs within Oregon, which work together to create equitable opportunities for students and educators to engage in STEM across the state.

I am currently a student at Portland Community College and plan on continuing my education at Oregon State University . My greatest academic interests are in water quality, restoration and sustainability.  I acknowledge that there are many different ways into the STEM world, and this opportunity is perfect to figure out exactly where I fit into this realm.  I am beyond excited to grow my GIS and communications skills which will help build a strong foundation for my STEM career. My dream is to be able to study ecological engineering and take what I learn back to my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Work hard, play hard. When I am not in class or at work, I take advantage of being on the west coast by exploring and experiencing all it has to offer. My most recent escapade involves the start of my scuba diving certification!

Introducing Destiny Coleman

Posted on behalf of Destiny Coleman

Here I am pictured in the Florida A&M University, School of the Environment laboratories with my pet fish and a few books I am currently reading. 

I am Destiny Coleman, a graduating senior studying Environmental Science at Florida A&M University. I plan to pursue a career in research and conservation of marine life and environments, specifically targeting marine mammals. Marine biology has been my passion since I was a child, and science and nature have worked their way into major portions of my life. I have a pet crested gecko (Harlequinn) and 7 “plant babies” that I enjoy incorporating into my daily life. Although I enjoy blurring the line between my career interests and personal life, I do value the friendships I have built throughout my college career and a large portion of my free time is dedicated to maintaining those relationships. I enjoy being the “planner” friend who always has creative ideas to bring diverse individuals together for something that can be mutually enjoyed. In my alone time, I have reclaimed my love for reading, scrapbooking, and I often dive and snorkel with friends from school. This summer, I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the SEACOR project and receive hands-on experience in coastal biology before I continue my career as an early scientist.

Miss Destiny Coleman

4th year Environmental Science

Florida A&M University 

Introducing Linnea Ingrid Gebauer

Posted on Behalf of Linnea

My name is Linnea Gebauer, and I’m a rising junior at Occidental College in Los Angeles, majoring in Biology with a minor in Religious Studies. I grew up in Southern Oregon, and have always loved taking trips to the Oregon Coast! Marine biology has always been an interest of mine, and I’m especially interested in the impact of human activity on the ecology and biodiversity of marine habitats. This past school year I’ve also had the opportunity to give science presentations at local elementary schools, and I’ve really enjoyed getting more involved in science communication and outreach! I’m passionate about making science accessible and engaging for all audiences. I’m also a student researcher in Occidental’s Computational Biology lab, where we focus on computational methods in urban wildlife ecology and conservation biology. I’m excited to explore the intersection of scientific research, outreach, and education this summer working with the ODFW Water Program!

This is me holding a boa constrictor in my Zoology lab!

Additionally, I haven’t heard anything yet from my host about background checks, so I’m assuming that isn’t needed for my position. I think that’s everything, but let me know if I can provide any other information!



All by myself…

Just ten weeks ago Lisette, Phoenix, and I were headed to Otter Rock for our first practice run surveying visitors to Oregon’s marine reserves. Fast forward to today; Lisette headed back to Chicago last week and Phoenix left the week before. It has been a quite week finishing up data entry and checking from home so I have had more time to think about this blog post compared to previous ones.

Throughout these ten weeks I saw how human dimensions research is carried out from survey design to report writing. I sat in on meetings with the team designing and drafting a survey that would be sent out to thousands of recreational fishers, created a codebook for data entry, conducted hundreds of surveys of visitors and businesses, and now I’m starting the report writing phase.

This behind the scenes look has made me feel more confident in my career goals going forward. I have always said that I wanted to work for ODFW or similar agency because I felt that their mission aligned with my personal values. This experience has solidified that for me and, through our mentor Tommy, I have gained some insight into what it takes to get a permanent position at ODFW.

It looks more and more like graduate school is in my future. I have started doing some surface level research into where I could apply and what that process looks like. This is where I feel like I faltered at the end of my previous bachelor’s degree so this all makes me a little nervous. In the next few weeks I will develop more of a plan and set up some meetings with my advisor and others to make sure I’m on the right track.

In the short term I will be staying on with ODFW as a temporary biological science aid. This will allow me to continue helping write the reports for the data we collected this Summer. I’m excited to stick with the project a little longer and to have a job for the rest of the Summer!

Thistle is adjusting to the work from home life.

A truly shrimp-tacular summer

Looking back, this has probably been the best summer of my life! Although it started off rough leaving my family and friends behind, it progressively got better with time. I got to meet so many new and wonderful people, visit places I’ve never been, and experience things that I never imagined for myself. I mean, it was my actual job to go out and play in the mud like a little kid! This summer internship has truly been an amazing experience and I recommend it to anyone looking to get a foot in the door with marine sciences.

Top left: John and me on my very first day out in the field. Bottom left: Exploring a lake in Alaska with Mattias. Middle left: John on the first day of Alaska field work. Right: Phoenix and me at the Bayfront before the program started.

Hearing from my roommates and the other Sea Grant Scholars has helped me to narrow down my future aspirations. I know that my summer experience has been a bit different than others in the program by being more of a scientific research experiment rather than scientific community/policy outreach. Working with Oregon State University and USDA-ARS has given me the chance to work with a real research team instead of a classroom research team. Not only has it led me to meet and work with other students and professors from OSU and CU Boulder, but it has allowed me to visit and make professional contacts in Washington and Alaska. While I would like to work with a government agency in the future, I would prefer to do a similar role as here that has less interactions with the public and more hands-on science.

Left: learning to play the cello with the Banks family. Middle: Joshua and me psyching ourselves up for field work with Brett at 4:45am. Top right: Emily and me with several Alaska mud shrimp. Bottom right: blueberry picking with the roomies.

The next step in life for me is heading off to graduate school for the Marine Resource Management master’s program at OSU in September. At OSU I’ll be continuing working with Brett, John, the Upogebia, and the Orthione for my master’s thesis to try and keep that balance between economy and ecology. I’m thrilled to be a part of a program that focuses on so many of the things that I care about. It will be an interesting transition to go back to school, especially in-person school. No matter what happens, I am extremely excited and nervous to start this next chapter of my life and see where it takes me. 

Top left: last Yaquina Bay field day for Joshua and me. Bottom left: exploring Yaquina Head Lighthouse with Mattias. Middle: a typical day of lab work. Right: a double infested mud shrimp from Alaska.

An end to an amazing summer

It always amazes me how quickly 10 weeks can just fly by. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I came into this internship, but everything has been above and beyond anything I could have imagined. During my undergrad, I was very focused on building my skills in scientific research which lead me to participate in various research opportunities. However, I felt that I lacked the skills to apply and communicate that scientific knowledge in a way that would make it useful for policy and management. Throughout this summer, after talking with various professionals and participating in a variety of meetings with my mentor, I can definitely say that I’ve gotten a pretty solid grasp on how to apply and communicate science. I’ve learned how to read and summarize scientific papers so that I am only pulling out the major key points. I got to build my artistic skills and participate in creating various outreach materials to communicate the scientific knowledge in a manner that is easier to digest to the target audience. Additionally, I got to see and interact with some of the “middlemen” between the scientific and the policy-makers to firsthand see how science helps inform policy and management. All the skills and knowledge I have gained throughout this summer will definitely benefit me as I continue with my education and solidify my career path.

Another important thing that I learned from this internship is that your degree doesn’t define what your future career is. I was pleasantly surprised to find just how many people working in the policy realm had a scientific background in biology, marine science, ecology, etc. While I originally thought I wanted to get my Ph.D. and only do research for the rest of my life, I soon realized that academia wasn’t really for me. It was comforting to hear just how many paths that a background in the biological sciences could give you and that it doesn’t necessarily have to take you down the path of academia. Talking individually with various professionals has really helped me start to see all the possibilities I can do with my degree. As I continue on to my master’s program at UC Davis in the fall, I will continue to look for interdisciplinary opportunities that will allow me to explore a career in the intersection between science and policy.

One of the grad photos I took at the blueberry farm where I conducted research during my last term at UO.

Last Update!

The majority of my time this week has gone to revising and finalizing my final report that I have been working on all summer. This is the first time that I have gotten to commit so much time to a project that I am working on independently and as I get closer to being able to submit I feel very proud of all that I accomplished this summer. Coming into this I didn’t really know what to expect but I feel like I have gained very useful skills in being able to read complex research materials and distill them down to be more understandable and consumable by the general public. I have also learned that I care a lot more about environmental education than I previously thought. It gives me a way to utilize both my environmental science and education backgrounds and combining those with my experience of growing up with crisis based environmental education has been so rewarding. This summer has definitely taught me so much about environmental education and virtual learning and I am so thankful that I got to have this experience so early on in my academic career.

As this internship wraps up I have been thinking a lot about what I have gained from this experience. As someone who grew up far away from the coast I never really saw marine conservation as something that I would want to pursue as a career. However, being exposed to so many different career paths and having my first experiences with marine conservation has made me realize that it is something that I would want to pursue in the future. 

I am now headed back to the University of Washington to start my sophomore year, and my first year in person on my campus. I am beyond excited to further my knowledge in environmental science and I feel like this experience has solidified the path that I want to take. After getting my degree I think that I might either go to grad school for conservation biology or go to law school to pursue environmental law. 

Various copies of all the different revisions my report has gone through.