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A Winding Career Path Leads to Water, Florida

As told by Valerie Perini
Nahant, Massachusetts

Story Narrative:

Submitted by Valerie to the Women Mind the Water digital stories project, in conjunction with the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street storytelling website and traveling exhibition "Water/Ways."

This story was recorded at Northeastern University Marine Science Center in Massachusetts.

"I grew up in Florida less than a mile from the ocean and spent a lot of time beach combing and swimming, that sort of thing. I think my relationship with water back then was more of a hobby and recreational one. As I grew up, I didn’t even really realize that you could have a career related to the ocean. So, I kind of took a varied path to get to the place I am today. I was a biology major at Northeastern. Even though you’d think marine biology would be a natural fit I first explored some other aspects of biology. I did an internship in a pharmaceutical lab and then I did an internship at a doctor’s office. There was not a good fit. I wasn’t finding my passion.

Then, I did an internship in Honduras where I learned to scuba dive. Finally, it clicked, and I realized, 'Oh my gosh, I love the ocean and I love science so why don’t I combine those two loves of mine?' Since then I took every opportunity I could to delve into studying the ocean. I got an internship here at the Marine Science Center here in Nahant where I currently work. I also started to explore my interest in science communication at that point. So then as I continued studying, I got my master’s degree studying the seaweeds that live here in Nahant outside the door from the Marine Science Center.

I continued to be really interested in both studying the ocean but also sharing everything I was finding with others. When I graduated, I realized that maybe the sharing everything with others was more exciting with me than studying the ocean. So now I work in science communication and I try to share all the great research we’re doing with the ocean with others."

Asset ID: 7072

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