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Plans for Marine Science Education

Discussion in 'Marine Science and Physiology' started by jon stoops, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. jon stoops

    jon stoops Garibaldi

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Monticello, IN 47960

    Hello, I am new to this site and really not sure how it all works, so I apologize for commenting on this thread, please delete if not allowed. My son is a junior in high school and still trying to figure out what he is wanting to do for college. He currently says he wants to be a marine biologist, but I am not sure if he understands what that entails, and if he even has the grades for that, he is 3.0/4.0 student. He really wants to be near the water and work on the water so I am asking for a little guidance on the best degrees we should look for and possible colleges to attend. The caveat to all of this is that he is a very good baseball player and wants to continue to play baseball. I know this is a lot to ask for but if anyone has some guidance that would be great. We live in Indiana so google searches are about my only source of knowledge try to help him.
  2. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    Yours is an unusual question, and I moved it to a forum that is more appropriate, Moreover, as a new thread your question is more likely to receive attention than it would at the end of an old thread on a different topic.

    As someone who enjoyed a career in high school education, I have seen this sort of question countless times. I used to include a unit with my seniors dealing with this, so I have a week's worth of information and advice to give you, but I will distill it down to the bare essence here.
    1. The fact that your son is this much of a plan at this age is unusual. Most high school students have no idea what they want to do at this point in their lives.
    2. That doesn't really matter, because there is a really good chance that he will eventually change his mind based on his experiences in the coming years. I went to college as a chemistry major myself, and I exited as an English major.
    3. He should prepare for his goal as a marine biologist by taking the most appropriate high school courses he can so that he is best prepared for it in college. He should avoid the trap many high school seniors fall into by taking a load of fluff courses so that they can enjoy that last year to the fullest. It is a huge mistake.
    4. He should definitely pick a college that offers what he wants--marine biology and baseball. That will not be hard. The best places for marine biology are often located in good places for baseball.
    5. Because colleges know there is a good chance that he might change his mind, their requirements for first and second year students are general enough to allow exploration and adjustments. No need to feel locked in.
    Because of his interest in marine biology, I suggest that he get certified as a scuba diver ASAP and go to college with at least those basic skills completed.
    KathyV, FezUSA and jon stoops like this.
  3. jon stoops

    jon stoops Garibaldi

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Monticello, IN 47960
    John this is great advice, thank you so much, I just read it to him and makes complete sense. We have reached out to several schools on the the coast of Florida as well, but SCUBA certification will be the next priority. Thank you
    KathyV likes this.
  4. FezUSA

    FezUSA Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Hiram, OH, USA
    I would add that once he gets to college and has verified that he indeed does still want to follow that path, that he looks early into summer internships that will offer experience and learning. Even if not doing it the first summer, it is good to know what would be expected and what skills/knowledge would be required. On these forums you can find opportunities, just for example, for diving internships in Indonesia with a marine biology/ ecology basis. It's unpaid but they provide food/lodging. You're diving and mapping reef systems etc. Probably all the 'grunt' work, but an amazing experience, good for the CV (resume) and can help the student know what they're really getting into. I'd imagine that there might be more local and similar opportunities too, not just a diver/cleaner of the local aquarium (not that this is a bad opportunity, at least once!).
    KathyV and Nick Steele like this.
  5. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    KathyV likes this.
  6. loosenit2

    loosenit2 Solo Diver

  7. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    As a biology professor, here is my recommendation. Have him major in biology, not marine biology, for his undergraduate degree. In college, if he decides he wants to stick with marine biology as a career, he'll need to go to graduate school. The B.S. in biology will prepare him well for graduate program in marine science. If he decides not to continue on with marine biology, the general biology degree can serve him well. He'll leave college not only with the "biology" part, but the degree from most schools also includes strong quantitative components in math and chemistry. The additional advantage of not searching out a specific undergraduate marine biology program is that virtually all universities offer a biology degree. That will give him more flexibility about where he can play baseball. One thing he should understand, however, an undergraduate degree in the sciences takes more work than some other degrees. Getting good grades in a science degree while playing sports is not an easy task. With that said, I've had lots of students do it successfully.
    caydiver, drrich2, KathyV and 4 others like this.
  8. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    In addition, he should take math, statistics, and computer-science courses, both undergrad and grad. There are a LOT of marine biology graduates looking for jobs....having an applicable secondary skill-set helps a lot, and the math-oriented skills are not common in marine biology graduates....partly because they may have taken biology in order to avoid math.
    caydiver, KathyV, boulderjohn and 2 others like this.
  9. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    And just to follow up on @tursiops' post, indeed, encourage him to take the math/stats (more is better) AND computer-science/programing courses. Way back when I was an undergrad, computer science wasn't that important. Now, it is an incredibly valuable skill both in the sciences (there is a whole field called bioinformatics) and elsewhere.
    KathyV and Sam Miller III like this.
  10. michael-fisch

    michael-fisch Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Germany n soon Lake City FL
    Don't most Marine Biologists who can't stay and find employment at university, end up working for one of the various Fishfarms/Aquaculture companies?
    Either you stay at the university, or your helping to grow salmon in a pond?
    caydiver likes this.

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