Shoe Boxes & Aquariums (Biology)

As a kid growing up in southwestern Oregon, I had the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains and the Pacific Ocean as my playgrounds and I quickly developed an appreciation for the outdoors. It did not matter if organisms walked, crawled, slithered, chirped, hopped, swam, or were hazardous to my health; if I found them, they made it into a shoe box or an aquarium. My passion and love for the outdoors combined with my curiosity for how things work attracted me to the field of biology, particularly the field of marine biology. The ocean is a mysterious and fascinating place, a world filled with fire engine reds and sunflower yellows and other eye catching colors combined with a multitude of crazy and bizarre looking creatures that leave me in wonder. During the pursuit of my degree, my diverse class foundation has given me the tools to explore biology, as well as formally taught me how to talk and think about biology, and has cemented my interest in pursuing a career in biology. Earning a Master of Science degree in Biology would enhance my research skills and make me more competitive for positions in research and in wildlife management.

My specific interest in pursuing a graduate degree at [redacted] University is to develop a deeper knowledge in the fields of comparative physiology, molecular biology, ecology and evolution, particularly of aquatic organisms. I am interested in studying how the comparative physiology of aquatic organisms influences their ecology and interactions with biotic and abiotic factors within an ecosystem.  I am also looking to develop skills in cellular and molecular biology, particularly if the lab work helps me understand how the animal interacts with and responds to its environment.  Dr. [redacted]’s current studies on freshwater clam (sphaeriid) populations at Turnbull national wildlife refuge and the project she wants to develop in the Coeur d’Alene watershed are the type of research I hope to undertake in the future and the main reason I am applying to the biology graduate program at [redacted].  Dr. [redacted] and I have discussed potential thesis projects, and these projects combine field work like documenting clam distributions and limnological factors and conducting transplant experiments, with laboratory work like tissue processing and biochemical assays. Doing this type of research at [redacted] also would allow me to tap into the aquatic biology expertise of Drs. [redacted] and [redacted].

A Master of Science degree with a research project that combines field and lab skills would prepare me for the work I hope to do with aquatic animals and allow me to progress into marine work in the future. There are many fields of biology that interest me and I am not sure exactly which field I would like to go into, but getting a masters is good first step and would provide me with many career opportunities. In the future I would like to possibly work as a research scientist for an organization like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or work in an Aquarium.  I may even go on toget a doctoral degree and become an academic scientist at a college or university. The outdoors is my passion and I would like to be part of the solution in keeping it healthy and around for future generations to enjoy and learn about.


This candidate applied to smaller regional state school programs with good reputations in the part of the country he wanted to live in.

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