Have you ever dreamt of working with corals? Our interns here at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation are making it happen. Meet Janelle, our newest communications intern. Read on to see how she made her way to us!
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have a very non-traditional background, and made my way to the Living Oceans Foundation in a pretty roundabout way. My undergraduate degree is actually in philosophy with a focus in philosophy of science.
After graduating into the recession of 2008, one of my first jobs was at a scuba shop. I had never been scuba diving and was hired to help with swim lessons, but quickly found myself partaking in the scuba classes, as well. I spent a number of years helping with scuba classes, as well as diving recreationally and volunteering in an aquarium. As part of my job at the dive shop, I would often play the ‘victim’ in scuba rescue classes, meaning the scuba instructor would find me a spot underwater, and I would sit still in the shallow water, waiting for the rescue students to recover me. This was where I really fell in love with the underwater world – sitting still in calm silence for up to 45 minutes, breathing steadily through my regulator, looking up at the sun shining through the kelp at the surface of the water. If you are still enough, the animals start treating you like part of their environment and will swim right up to you. I was so lucky to start my scuba career exploring the kelp forests in California, a truly remarkable habitat. Through years of diving, I really started feeling a deep desire to understand how underwater habitats are formed, and the role of ecosystem engineers within them.
I eventually changed careers and started making my way up the corporate ladder, but never stopped reading and learning about marine biology and ecology. A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to do something more meaningful, so I quit my job and applied for grad school. I was so lucky to be accepted into IMBRSea’s program for marine resource management, and feel so lucky to now be interning for KSLOF as a part of my education!