Tell Us about Yourself
What AEOP program(s) did you participate in?
High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP)
What got you interested in the field?
Matthew: Definitely my 4th-grade crawfish unit. In elementary school I poured my heart and soul into studying these fascinating creatures, learning all of their ins and outs. Every Friday after school, I stuck around to help my teacher feed and maintain the crawfish, observing their funny antics.
Sarah: I was always fascinated by marine organisms, especially fish and sharks. I remember being in second grade checking out the only book in the library on sharks for about the 20th time—they still used library cards and my name filled every line. For a long time, the highlight of my existence was sleeping over at the aquarium with my Girl Scout troop. However, like many young people, I had a lot of interests. I also enjoyed writing, and I wanted to be a novelist and I still do! It wasn’t until I was in college and was studying upper level coursework, learning to SCUBA dive, and pursuing an independent research project that it occurred to me that I could have career in scientific research and education.
Advice to a student, just beginning a career in science?
Matthew: I would advise them to truly pursue their passions, take a gamble, and push themselves out of their comfort zone. Initially, I was concerned about moving across the country for a high school summer internship, but it ended up being one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Sarah: I would recommend that they seek out hands-on research experiences in the specific areas they think they want to pursue, while also taking a breadth of coursework. For instance, even though my major was in biology, I am continuously grateful that I had exposure to statistics, computer programming, physics, chemistry, graphics, and writing in high school and college. These tools are pivotal to being successful, no matter what area of science you end up specializing in. I wish that I had been encouraged to take more of these classes while I was a student.