Saying Thanks to Dr. Kenneth Coale

Kenneth in action at an MLML holiday party for the all-important turkey carving. (photo: E. Loury)

Erin Loury

by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab

My very first class as a shiny and eager new student at MLML, in that distant year of 2008, was Chemical Oceanography with Dr. Kenneth Coale.  That class not only kicked of my graduate path in marine science, it also helped spark the inspiration for this very blog.

During each class, before delving into the particulars of the nitrogen cycle and the oxygen minimum zone, Kenneth would use the first ten minutes to talk about some big issue facing the ocean.  The fateful day we talked about the article “110 Misconceptions About the Ocean,” was certainly a wakeup call.  Learning what major gaps existed in the public’s “ocean literacy,” combined with a discussion of blogs in Joan Parker’s Library Research Methods class, put the wheels in motion that helped me create the Drop-In.  As I wrap up my time at MLML, I just wanted to thank Kenneth for his many contributions to MLML that I have found so inspiring.

Some of my favorite memories of Kenneth include seeing him in the front row of almost every seminar and student thesis defense, always ready with a thoughtful and insightful question and an expression of support for the speakers.  He also would provide the turkey for the lab holiday party and carve it himself, and one year brought a build-your-own chocolate mousse dessert that also demonstrated some delicious principles of chemistry.   I enjoyed seeing him as an active member of our community despite his many administrative duties – he even came out in style for our Lab Olympics this year.

Kenneth (left) competes in the blind dive slate assembly challenge during the 2011 Lab Olympics. (photo: S. Gabara)

I have also benefited from Kenneth knowing students well enough as individuals to direct us towards fitting opportunities.  After becoming aware of my interest in science communication and outreach, Kenneth got me involved with the MARINE program to represent MLML in developing programs for all marine graduate students in the Monterey Bay Area.  He also suggested me as an interview subject for the Ocean Project by SepctorDance, where I was in the company of many top-notch ocean scientists.

So thank you, Kenneth, for all the work and heart you dedicated to the lab as our Director.  Your kindness and support helped make my graduate experience at MLML truly enjoyable.

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