Jenna Walker (CAS ’11)

Participating in cleaning for field day aboard the SSV Robert C Seamans. (Courtesy of SEA).

Participating in cleaning for field day aboard the SSV Robert C Seamans. (Courtesy of SEA).

My BU days…

The BUMP program is simultaneously responsible for my happiest and most stressful times at BU and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to participate in Fall 2009 and 2010 semesters. These courses gave me the opportunity to further my laboratory and field skills set as well as make connections in the marine science world. After Sergio’s ES 543 I was given the opportunity to work for Linda Deegan of the Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center processing salt marsh soil core samples. Working with green crabs in Jelle Atema’s BI 563 led to publication, and I was honored to be chosen as one of the recipients of the Lara Vincent Award for the Fall of 2009.

My alumni days…

I officially graduated in January of 2011– that spring I returned to the Sea Education Association (SEA) as a deckhand and laboratory assistant to gain more experience working at sea. The trip was Ocean Sciences:S-234, from Honolulu to Midway Atoll/Papahanaumokukea National Marine Monument and I loved getting to assist college students with their oceanographic experiments (and to be onboard with fellow alumni Abby Cazeault).

For the summer of 2011 I was selected as the AAUS/OWUSS Scientific Diving Intern.  I worked at Shannon Point Marine Center of Western Washington University getting trained as an AAUS diver and working with native pinto abalone restoration efforts. Working in the Pacific Northwest was an amazing experience and provided me with the tools necessary to make a career out of underwater research.

Taking photos for a Washington Department of Natural Resources intertidal survey. (Courtesy of WWU)

Taking photos for a Washington Department of Natural Resources intertidal survey. (Courtesy of WWU)

In September 2011 I started my job as a Research Assistant 1 for the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Essentially a field technician, I spend my time diving within the surf zone deploying and retrieving oceanographic sensors for Oceanographers of PV lab. This fall we completed a study in Katama Bay of Martha’s Vineyard and our future field work is scheduled for the New River Inlet and Duck Field Research Facility, both in coastal NC.

Prepping sensors for divers before a deployment in Katama Bay. (Courtesy of WHOI)

Prepping sensors for divers before a deployment in Katama Bay. (Courtesy of WHOI)

Field recovery in Duck, NC- I’m the diver with the cylinder on the right. (Courtesy of WHOI).

Field recovery in Duck, NC- I’m the diver with the cylinder on the right. (Courtesy of WHOI).

 

My advice to future alumni…

1) Work during BUMP to gain as much lab and field experience as you can and get to know your professors well.  Recommendations are so important in this field and I am fortunate to have a few professors who have been amazing enough to support me with LOR’s.

2) Apply for a summer National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Uundergraduates program.  Get research experience, make connections with professors, and make some new friends along the way.

3) If you have a free semester do SEA .  Seriously, just do it.

4) You must be willing to work as hard as you can all the time! Is a professor more willing to vouch for you if you go home when it’s 5pm or if you stay in the lab until midnight wrapping stable isotope samples to finish your project? Food for thought- and be willing to get dirty along the way!