My name is Alexandra Verdeja Perez and I am a graduating senior at Purdue University in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, with a minor in Wildlife Sciences. I am from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and I am interested in this program because I want to learn more about the management of a saltwater fishery and the effects this management can have on the National Park level. This will be a great opportunity to gain real-life experience as opposed to a controlled laboratory or classroom setting.
I am also thrilled at the opportunity to work in an area with a large Latin community after being in the Midwest for four years. I love learning new things from new people, and I am eager to meet the staff and visitors of the park in hopes of returning to the rhythm of speaking very fast Spanish. I’m sure the food will never disappoint either!
My long-term career plan is to become a coral reef ecologist and work in conservation and restoration work. At the end of the day, my passion for snorkeling and scuba diving coral reefs from a young age is what got me interested in this field, so I would eventually love to move back home to Puerto Rico and incorporate all the experiences I gain throughout my career. If I can give future generations the opportunity to experience the oceans and coral reefs I had as a child, then I would be incredibly satisfied with my work.