Written by Dr. Angela Lodge, OCG co-director
Wednesday and Thursday of Week 2 at OCG are Career Days. Each Career Day starts like every other camp day, with a fun, energizing, team-building activity and a quote for thought. On Career Day, campers are able to experience the diversity of jobs in the field of oceanography, and explore careers options. The girls take tours and conduct interviews with scientists from various ocean research agencies.
Ocean scientists who volunteer represent everything from state and federal agencies — including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWRI), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and NOAA Fisheries — and, of course, academics from the USF College of Marine Science, including College Dean Jacqueline Dixon, tenured and assistant professors, researchers, and lab technicians.
This year, Catalina Martinez, a physical oceanographer from NOAA OER, and LT Claire Surrey-Marsden from NOAA Corp shared interviews virtually. Both women spoke candidly about the adventures, challenges, advantages, and disadvantages of the field of oceanography. They encouraged the girls to take lots of math and science courses in high school and college. Other advice is to gain as much practical experience as possible, if they are serious about pursuing a STEM career. LT Surrey-Marsden highlighted the benefits of volunteering by sharing her story about being hired by the agency where she interned during college. Catalina highlighted some of the challenges of being a Cuban-American female trying to pursue a field that was once very under represented by females, and is still highly underrepresented by minorities. Ms. Martinez, who has volunteered as a virtual interviewee for the OCG career day for over 10 years, emphasizes the importance of preparation, perseverance, persistence and self-confidence to succeed professionally.