The week I got to spend at the Bimini Shark Lab back in 2018 while participating from the Shark Bio course offered by professors Dan Abel and Dean Grubbs sparked a longing to come back. I wanted to apply for an internship at the shark lab the very moment I set foot at the station. However, back home, some unexpected situations prevented me from that goal: strikes due to government oppression, earthquakes, lack of resources, storms, sickness, a pandemic and so forth. In the meanwhile, I always kept my hopes up.
Years passed until one summer day I saw a post about a fellowship opportunity at the Bimini Shark Lab offered by MISS Elasmo. In 2020 I was able to I join MISS Elasmo's community and then, as a member, I was thrilled to finally apply for the opportunity I was still longing for. Luckily, there was no better time for me to go for it. I applied, got interviewed and got in! As a bonus, this internship opportunity came just in time for my 30th year trip around the Sun. Never too late, huh? To think I'm almost as old as the Shark Lab itself!
During my time there, I got to see up close Tiger, Caribbean reef, Blacktip, Bull, Blacknose, Nurse and Great hammerhead sharks along the lab's star species: The Lemon shark. Also, I got to observe other cool shark relatives. Not only I got the chance to see all of these incredible species, but I also got to learn different lab and field skills as well as to take all the classes offered by the staff and visiting professors. I even got to spend my birthday on the beach with a bonfire, an amazing course group, a mouth-watering dinner and a chocolate-coconut cake! Also, had the chance to see Dr. Grubbs again that same day. Furthermore, the staff and the interns went above and beyond to make it one of the most memorable and special birthdays in all my years.
I recall waking up to see the sunrise (whenever I could actually wake up that early) to then fulfill our daily duties so we could have everything set to go out for some shark time and overall making the most of our days. Each day was different and felt special. What made it even better was the people I got to meet during this internship.
Overall, this experience got me going through a huge checklist of things I wanted to learn for so long. It gave me new insights, skills and a chance to put those into practice. Also, I got to work individually and as part of a team performing different tasks. Plus, I got to meet an incredible bunch including my fellow interns, which I'll hopefully get see soon for a reunion. If I have to wait again for a while for another opportunity such as this one, now I know for certain that it's worth it.
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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