Our next volunteer profile is Kaitlyn! Kaitlyn is originally from Lynnwood, Washington and now lives in Jupiter, Florida, where she is a Pharmacy Technician and Research Assistant with ASC.
Have you always cared about sharks or is it something you learned about a little later in life? : I've always cared about sharks, but my passion for sharks grew as I began to learn more about them later in life.
Other than researching and saving sharks, what are your favorite hobbies?: If we consider traveling a hobby then that would certainly my favorite.
Why do you care about
them? : Beyond the scare
factory, sharks are scary cool! So many unique adaptations, hundreds of
different species, and all playing a vital role within the ecosystem(s) they
Why do you like being part of ASC? : I like being a part of ASC because I truly agree with their mission statement and believe that the impact ASC contributes to the community is massively positive for sharks and ocean conservation. I also feel very supported within a group of highly intelligent individuals that are all dedicated to better understanding and conserving sharks.
What is your favorite shark and why? : I don't necessarily have a favorite, but I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with silky sharks on my first shark dive. That species holds a lot of value to me because of that memory.
If you could see any shark in the wild, what species would it be? : My first thought jumps to a whale shark mainly due to its sheer size. I've never interacted with an animal even close to that large in the wild, so I would be elated at the opportunity. For me, I think the experience would give me a whole new perspective being in the presence of an animal that large underwater.
In regards to sharks and conservation, what would be your dream job? : I do very much enjoy being on a boat, and always jump at the opportunity when I get to go on one for maritime activities shark-related or not. My dream job would likely involve field research and a boat occupying a large portion of my time and office space, but I also very much enjoy researching sharks and collaborating with other creative minds on various shark-related projects.
Were you ever afraid of sharks? : I'd be lying if I said sharks have never made me nervous. However, a majority of wild animals make me nervous but I've learned enough about sharks to understand that I'm not on the menu.
Please describe any challenges you have faced in your journey in shark and ocean conservation. : I've had many challenges in my journey, one being multiple bouts of self-doubt that I wasn't qualified to work within this field. I think the important challenge that I have to consistently overcome is realizing that no amount of effort is too small. Effort in anything relative is better than absolutely nothing at all. The quality of my dedication to persevere through these challenges or mental blocks only makes me stronger and wiser in the long run.