A sense of wonder. Since I can first remember as a little boy growing up in North Carolina, at any chance I would dig up worms, catch critters in the forest and creeks, patrol the beaches to watch fish we would pull off a fishing line or what my grandfather would pull out of crab pots... And was always amazed and had questions to ask about what I saw. By the time I was in first grade, I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist and my parents I got me a book on “day in the life of a marine biologist”. For my first communion, my mom and dad got me these colorful books full of illustrations of fish, crabs, and coral from all over these distant places in the world. Things I knew I wanted to see with my own eyes. Soon I had a Peterson field guide for pretty much any living thing in North Carolina. Going through school, I had excellent science teachers who always encouraged curiosity. My family spent so much time with me fishing, exploring NC waterways, and fueling my desire to be a marine biologist. A couple years as a field technician, two bachelors degrees, a masters degree, a PhD, a post-doc, some life moves, and some professional jobs.
As I “progressed” in my education and career, my time as a scientist would be less and less in nature or labs and most of time behind computers and in meeting rooms. I promised myself a long time ago I would never lose that sense of wonder and curiosity that had me choose my career in science to begin with.
Halfway around the world and 60 feet underwater off a reef off Pohnpei Micronesia, I’m watching clownfish peculiar social behavior, shrimp, crabs, all along on shag carpet sea anemones. And there I was - back home, a fascinated eight years old thumbing through colorful science books about places far away. While I was not able to do nearly the amount of stuff I wanted to on this trip due to being sick, those brief moments were more than enough. And reminded me how blessed I am to have had such excellent teachers, mentors, and family. I just hope I can pass this down to my own kids one day.
#supportpubliceducation #wakecountyschools #teachers #supporteducators #marinebiology #micronesia #fsm #pohnpei #optoutside #coral #reef #scuba