It is a little hard for me to give you a straight answer for some of these
questions, because what has worked for me (and why I do the work I do) may
not be why you would like this field. Marine Science has turned into avery
big and diverse field. Some marine scientists spend most of their research
times out in the open water on ships. Some like me, spend most of their time
on shore studying the animals that appear there.
So, the best thing for you to do is look at some of the very good resources
on the web for marine science careers. WhaleNet has a number of really good
web addresses that can give you a good start. These sites include
biographies of working marine scientists, so you can get an idea of the
whole range of work that is out there. The most important thing you say in
you note is that being a marine scientist is your life long dream. This
would be the main reason for you to do it. In fact, most of the folks I
know working in this field, do it because it is what they love to do (and
not because it is the easiest job or the one that might have been the best
From: ShimERIN621@aol.com [mailto:ShimERIN621@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2001 7:35 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Please answer!
Hi, my name is Erin Cassato, and I am a student at Glenbrook North High
School located in a suburb of Chicago. I am doing a career project and I
chose Marine Biology to research because it is my life-long dream. I have a
few questions and I would greatly appreciate if you answered them! Thanks so
much for your time!
If you count working at the Aquarium as marine science. In a way I have
been lucky to have been paid to do marine and ocean related work for most of
my career. My first job at the Aquarium paid the then minimum wage. As a
researcher, I probably make somewhere around what your teachers are paid.
Education required? Yes....In my case it seems that there is always
something I SHOULD have taken in school that I didn't. That's a joke (sort
of). Working as a scientist is a little like being in school all of the
time. The good parts mostly, because you can always get to learn new
Growth Rate? Not sure what you are talking about...I am 5'7" and think that
in the last few years I might have started shrinking...If you mean growth in
your job...that would depend entirely on the type of job you are doing.
Job Security? Well, 3/4 of the planet is covered by water, so you would
think that there will always be something to do....If you mean will there
always be money to do the kind of research you would really like....that can
sometimes be a real challenge.
Work time (HOURS) required? Most of the scientists I know look at it the
other way (how many hours are required for you life outside of work).
Actually this can vary totally. Some people I know work in labs and have a
very standard 9-5 job. Some folks I know have a saying when they are
working in the field "eat when you can...sleep when you must".
Stress, other extraordinary work conditions? For a lot of people it is the
chance for the extraordinary working conditions that make it a neat job.
For example, look at the picture of me on the ASK page. While it was a
stressful experience trying to figure out what happened to that whale, it
was a pretty interesting day at the office. Again, the marine science field
is so broad, that you could probably take you pick. If you want low stress,
try identifying benthic invertebrates...want some stress? Try marine mammal
strandings. In either case, there is a good chance you can find a job that
would be interesting and suit your "stress tolerance" level.
Fringe, other benefits? Meaning?...If you like working with whales...working
with whales is a opretty good perc.
Travel? Again, I know some marine scientists who have barely left their
building in ten years and others that spend more time on the water than on
Things you feel are positive/negative about your job? Positive...it is what
I like to do. Negative...to do what I like to do, I sometimes have to do
things that I do not like to do that much...
Type of person that is right for this carrer? It is a big career path, so I
don't think I can narrow that one down.
What you like most about your job? see above...
What you like least? see above (positives and negatives...)
Where did you go to college? Gettysburg College...in Pennsylvania...
What was your major? Biology
Did college prepare you for this job, why or why not? Yes it did. As it
turned out i had a very general Biology background. Because I had to work
with everything from plankton to whales at one time or another, having a
broad background was a big help. I have never had a course in Marine
Biology, or Marine Science (although I have taken many specialized courses
later in my career, as I needed them...)
What did you do before starting your career? I graduated from college, went
to school to learn how to be a commercial diver, I worked as a diver for a
while, I worked for a medical lab for a while, I worked as a diver again,
and I started working at the Aquarium, I left the Aquarium ands began
working in my present position....
What advice would you give me if i were to persue this career?
See the first comment. Marine Science is a big field to choose from. The
best thing you can do is find what part appeals to you the most, and figure
out what it is you would like to do to be a part of it. Working as a
volunteer or intern for a marine sciences program or project can be a good
way to find out what it is like to work in the field and give you some
experience that you can try on for size. See WhaleNet for some ideas in
If you could answer these for me, it would be greatly appreciated! Again,
thank you so much for your time!
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