Laura Palma reporting for duty! Destination: US Virgin Island St. Croix

I hail from the distant land of Miami Florida, born and raised. It’s also where I attained a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Florida International University. As a recent graduate, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired as a scientific diver. That is what drew me to this particular internship. But diving alone was not enough to hook me line and sinker; the opportunity to explore and study a new ecosystem and organism, seagrass beds and green sea turtles, is what sealed the deal. I have never worked with sea turtles or conducted intensive research with seagrasses, something I won’t be able to say by the end of this internship.

While I’m here I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity MOSAICS has given me not only from the research perspective but also from the National Park Service (NPS) aspect. I’m curious to experience what it will be like working for NPS and whether it will be a good fit for me. As most of my experience has been with academic institutions, this internship will allow me to expand my career experience with other agencies. I’ve only been here six days and already I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with some great scientists including several from NOAA. I hope this experience will help me determine if graduate school will be my next feat.

I’d like to give a big thank you to my project mentor, Alexandra Gulick (Graduate Student, Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, University of Florida) and my NPS supervisors, Clayton Pollock (Biologist) and Zandy Hillis-Starr (Chief of Resource Management) for offering me this opportunity.

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