Emily Schmeltzer

IMG_0799Name: Emily Schmeltzer

Lab webpage: http://invert.mlml.calstate.edu/current-students

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Undergrad: B.S. in Biology & B.A. in Spanish, University of New Mexico, 2013

Work experience before MLML: Museum of Southwestern Biology- Division of Arthropods- spider taxonomy, arbovirus transmission research

Q: Why did you decide to pursue marine science?

I’ve wanted to be a marine biologist since I was a little kid! Don’t we all?

Q: What experiences and opportunities have shaped your path to get you where you are now?

Living in the desert made me realize I wanted to study something completely new and challenge myself. After studying spiders for two years I was ready to make that change. The sea has always captivated me, and I definitely made the right choice. This is where I belong.

Q: What are you studying and why is it interesting and important to you?

I’m studying marine invertebrates and reef ecology in Indonesia. One of my reasons for becoming a scientist was focusing on conserving biodiversity, and the Coral Triangle is host to an incredible amount of ocean diversity. It would be terrible to see any species disappear and affect the entire ecosystem and community.

Q: What are you hoping or planning to do when you finish?

Upon graduation from MLML, I’m fairly certain that I will want to pursue a Ph.D.

Q: What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of graduate school?

I love going to school everyday knowing that I’m in the right place. I’m studying something I’m passionate about and that I love, and that makes all the difference.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to get in to marine science?

Do it! I grew up in the middle of the desert and lived there my entire life. I started my graduate career with a blank slate; no previous marine background, no diving certification, nothing. It doesn’t matter where you come from as long as you are passionate about what you do and are willing to work hard and make the most out of your education.

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