This summer working with MISS, New College Florida and Havensworth Coastal Conservation was one I will never forget. As someone without a support system when it comes to education and my career it was incredible to meet people like me who also love and work with sharks. The relationships built this summer will stay with me forever and help me feel more confident moving forward in shark science. I met so many talented and amazing women in science and it was so inspiring. My first day on the boat was so surreal and it really never stopped. I would catch myself thinking “how did I even get here?” on almost every trip out on the water. Every day on the boat and in the lab was a dream. Sure yeah, sometimes waking up at five am was a little tough but it was always worth it. I loved setting lines, gill netting not to mention working on a team of all women most of the time. It’s not all sharks though, there is bait cutting,stinky little catfish and lots of hard work. While we surveyed this summer we saw and worked up several species of sharks and I even started to be able to identify them in the water. One of my favorite days was when unexpectedly we caught one nurse shark and two hammerheads all over five feet long. Seeing them up close was breathtaking and unreal. All summer we mostly worked with juveniles so this was an opportunity to not only see larger sharks but learn the skills required to gather data from them as well. Overall I learned more than I could have imagined and am so excited to see what the future brings for me in shark science. Also while in Florida, I got to work with children in outreach programs with MISS and that was also just a mind blowing experience. What I would have given to see someone like me do something I loved would have been monumental in my childhood. It still is monumental when I see it as an adult, in most of my classes I’m one of a few bipoc students. I was in amazed all summer with how smart and strong these women are, I was constantly in awe and telling everyone I knew how great they were. Breaking barriers and helping others all while maintaining their own lives. You can have what you want, do what you want and still achieve your dreams. MISS is truly a one of a kind organization making dreams into reality. Working with and seeing BIPOC in shark science has truly been one of the highlights of my life and I can’t wait for more.
MISS provides a community and funded opportunities for gender minorities of color who wish to enter the field of shark sciences. We aim to show that there are many gender minorities of color succeeding in and interested in this field.
We fundraise and apply for grants to create paid opportunities to attempt to knock down the financial barrier into shark sciences. We encourage other organizations in our field to do the same.
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MISS is a registered US nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation under 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (EIN: 85-2192211).
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