Ayden's Graduate Thesis + Bio Survey Tech Course in Africa
Organized by: Ayden Vargas
EVENT DATE Aug 22, 2015
Big World, Little Ayden.
As most of you know I am a graduate student studying Mammalogy who also happens to be a Scientific Diver. Since April 2014, I started doing field work and marine research all over the world and have therefore deferred the past 2 semesters to continue to gain this field experience that I would not have otherwise have gotten in the classroom. Because of my incredible mentors faith in me I am once again offered another opportunity to go back into the field for a month. These experiences combined are forging me ahead not only in my education but in my career and have exceeded my wildest expectations.
I have been asked to travel as a scientific-dive intern to Seychelles (located in the Indian Ocean about 1500 kilometers east of mainland Africa and northeast of Madagascar), where I will be diving with whale sharks and collecting data on coral reefs, sea turtles, tropical fish, and plankton. I will work closely with partners on marine conservation projects, providing the local government with information on the coral reefs, behavior and nesting patterns of sea turtles, and the migration patterns of whale sharks, the world's largest fish.
Most of the time on this project will be spent underwater, scuba diving. Outside of normal work, I will have the opportunity to go on dives, exploring the wildlife of the underwater world looking for whale sharks and manta rays, and swimming with dolphins. I will also visit the breeding areas of the green turtle, the hawksbill, and the endangered giant tortoise.
While participating in this project I will undergo Coral Reef Research Diver training as well as the opportunity for many other diving courses. I will undergo intensive training on this project to master the ability to perform scuba dives with the purpose of performing scientific research as well as intensive marine education to learn how to carry out marine surveys, all without disturbing the environment. I will also take the Biological Survey Techniques Course for in-depth training that will allow me to effectively plan and execute my own field surveys in the future, bringing me that much closer to where I need to be as an aspiring lead researcher.
Through the Internship Certification Program, I’ll have a personal mentor who will help me develop leadership skills, routinely assess my progress and provide a professional reference upon completion of the program.
Next stop, Nat Geo!
Unlike past opportunities this one is not a paid internship because of the level of intensity and coursework it requires not to mention the boat fees and gear that I will need daily. Oh ya...and food. I will be gone for one month and will need to pay for everything out of pocket. If you can contribute even a few bucks that's one meal! And I would greatly appreciate it!
If you think of it this way:
$20 = Food 1 day
$600 = Food for the month
$25 = Lodging for a day
$750 = Lodging for the month
$1100 = boat/gear for the month
$1500 = Flight to Seychelles
$3785 = Courses
$750 = Emergency Fund/Visas
Thank you everyone for your well wishes this past year in my unconventional methods of exploration and garnering an education unlike one I ever expected to receive at my university.
As Malcom Gladwell puts it:
"...these are the people willing to take social risks - to do things that others might disapprove of. That is not easy. Society frowns on disagreeableness. As human beings we are hardwired to seek the approval of those around us. Yet a radical and transformative thought goes nowhere without the willingness to challenge convention. ...the reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."