We met in 2009. My life was in limbo but exciting things were happening. I had just completed a 6-month internship at a weekly newspaper in Santa Barbara and returned from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico assisting a now quite successful underwater photographer, Thomas Peschack, through an expedition with the International League of Conservation Photographers.
I’ve officially completed the first quarter of my PhD, and I felt like it was one of my weaker academic performances to date. Much like my first semester in the MEM program at the Nicholas School, I felt ALL the feelings: inadequate, gleeful, inept, intellectually engaged, inefficient, excited, frustrated, enlightened, moronic, self-assured, and doubt-ridden…to name a few.
This summer I was reminded of two things:
I HATE moving
The ocean is awesome
Let’s tackle the annoying one first. Summer 2015 goes down in the books.
In three months I will transform from a Blue Devil to a Cardinal as I begin my PhD at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University (E-IPER). It took three rounds of applying to PhD programs over a span of 7 years to finally be accepted.
A few weeks before graduation I was honored (and surprised!) to be selected as the student speaker for our graduation ceremony. The nomination forced me to hunker down and write about my time at the Nicholas School. Initially this seemed like just another item to check off the long end-of-the-school-year task list, but it ended up being an incredible gift. It forced me to carve out time to reflect on all of my experiences and especially the extraordinary people I’d come to know during our two years in the Master of Environmental Management Program.
Every now and then there’s a shining moment in time when the stars align and perfection ensues.
This few-times-in-a-life event occurred during my recent trip to the Philippines, to both finish my research evaluating the mangrove restoration and alternative livelihood project in Oriental Mindoro, and to explore another one of the countries 7,107 islands.
What follows is a photo-story of the hunt for the giant river otter, which proved to be slipperier than a buttered bar of soap, but as usual, the journey those furry devils set me on was a reward in itself.