Name: Kristin Walovich
Lab webpage: In progress
Hometown: Pleasanton, California
Undergrad: BS in Aquatic Biology, UC Santa Barbara, 2010
Work experience before MLML:
During my undergrad I volunteered at an ecology lab conducting SCUBA surveys and collecting benthic samples at Channel Islands. After I graduated from UCSB I spent the summer at the Gump Research Station in Moorea, French Polynesia as an assistant collecting and measuring sea urchins for a recruitment study. For the last year I have lived in South Africa taking pictures of great white sharks for a dorsal fin identification study.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue marine science?
A: I choose marine biology because being stuck knee deep in mud, smelling like fish, perpetual mask and wetsuit tan lines and getting my hands dirty sounded like a fantastic profession. I think all marine biologists have chosen their profession because we have a passion for the creatures we study and the ocean in which they live in.
Q: What experiences and opportunities have shaped your path to get you where you are now?
A: Observing the great white shark in and out of the water in South Africa really inspired me to study sharks. Sharks have such grace and beauty that few people are able to appreciate; I hope that my research can educate and inspire others to see sharks as I do.
Q: What are you studying and why is it interesting and important to you?
A: I study a group of deep-sea fishes called ghost sharks or chimaeras. Very little is known about these fishes, often something as simple as a name. For my thesis I will be describing several new species from the Southern Africa region.
Q: What are you hoping or planning to do when you finish?
A: One of my life goals is to avoid a desk job, so as long as I am outside in the rain, sloshing through mud or throwing on SCUBA gear I will be happy.
Q: What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of graduate school?
A: I think assisting other grad students with their research will be a rewarding part of my experience at MLML. It gives me a chance to learn new skills and knowledge and help out an amazing group of people who are just as nerdy as I am.
Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to get in to marine science?
A: Try as many things as you can. Travel, volunteer for an on campus lab, participate in that obscure internship on the other side of the globe. You may discover a passion you never knew existed. As long as you don’t mind getting a little dirty, the experience is always worth it.