New State | New Chapter

Science, Thoughts

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My passion and drive are two things that never diminish.

2016 has been quite the roller coaster to say the least, but I finally feel like it’s turning around for the better. Let’s rewind a year (aka 2015). I originally moved back to California from Puerto Rico to attend CSULA for my teaching credential in science. I completed one semester, and realized that it was not the correct pathway for me. My mom and grandma told me from the beginning that I couldn’t be contained in a 4-walled classroom for very long and be happy… turns out they were right.

I have family in Portland, Oregon, so I began to look into some graduate programs up there for a change of scenery, and also to be closer to them. Portland(ia) is very green & eco-conscious, so I knew it would be a good place to look for environmental education opportunities. It didn’t take very long until I found a program that was PHENOMENAL.

At Portland State University, they offer a Master of Science specializing on Leadership for Sustainability Education (LSE). When you say it out loud it’s a mouthful, but it still doesn’t beat my previous degree: Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science Technology and Policy focusing on Marine and Coastal Ecology. Say that five times fast! 

I digress… continuing on with the story… I researched the graduate program more in-depth and ended up attending an LSE Open House last October at the university. My cousin Tiffany and I arrived couple minutes late to the Open House unfortunately, but we still ended up conversing with one of the professors of the program and a previous LSE graduate. They were both very welcoming and helpful, and I left feeling overcome with a mixture joy and relief that this program was truly meant for me. Ultimately, I want to be a Director of Education for an aquarium or non-profit, and/or eventually create my own environmental school focusing in marine conservation. A master of science degree would help me achieve that goal!

Once I had finished my meeting with the professor, Tiffany insisted on taking a photo of me against this wall at the LSE Department (since it WAS going to be my new school eventually). While we were in the middle of taking the photo (seen above), a gentleman walked up who had guided us earlier when we first walked into the offices. He was just checking in on us to make sure we were successful in locating a professor to speak with. Low and behold, he was the Admissions and Student Support Specialist for the LSE Program! I immediately felt like a complete idiot for taking this silly picture while he was trying to check in on us, but he was a good sport about it all 😛

Long story short – I applied – and got accepted earlier this month! I’m not going to lie, I went back and forth with my final decision. Paying out of state tuition is A LOT of money, but my close friend/mentor said don’t let money be the deciding factor if that’s the only thing holding you back. He is right. I’m 28, single, no kids, and I don’t have any other seemingly huge excuse to keep me from making this next life move. It’s time for a new state – new friends – new adventures – and new memories for (at least) the next 2 years!

Thank you to everyone who has helped me in this process – I have leaned upon many of you in this final decision. I appreciate your support whole heartedly – and I can’t wait to have you all visit me! There will be many Pacific Northwest adventures to come, I am sure of it. Time to bust out my flannels and rain boots…

See you in July, Portland!

 

PS – If you know of any potential job opportunities or housing (preferably furnished) in Portland –> PLEASE COMMENT BELOW ❤ ! 

 

 

I AM Scuba Miss USA!

Thoughts

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BIG NEWS!

After the Best Jobs in the World Contest, I got approached by a wonderful woman by the name of Ashlee Smith on Facebook. She informed me that she was the 2nd Runner Up in the 2012 Miss Scuba International Pageant, and that I would be a great representative for the USA this year. At first I was like, “Wait a minute..how did I not know of this amazing contest before?!” Well, after some research I learned that this pageant began in 2011. But, the basis of this pageant is right up my ocean conservation alley!

I turned in my application, and soon found out that I was a top contender to represent the USA in the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I was actually chatting with a long time friend today about this whole experience, and he said:

Well, I know you’ve been laying down the bricks for something like this for a long, long, LONG time. If you ask me, you’ve created this path yourself. Things happen for a reason, and this is proof you’ve been on the right path all along. Super stoked for you.
I really took this comment to heart. My whole life has been dedicated to learning and continually falling in love with the ocean. I am meant to educate as many people as possible about protecting our planet. The Miss Scuba International Pageant is made for me.

Please feel free to review the history of the Miss Scuba International Pageant as stated on their website:

The Miss Scuba International pageant was held for the very first time in 2011. There has been many a beauty pageant held in the past, many embracing great causes, however none yet have focused on our oceans. Life on Earth as we know it today began with our oceans. Thus, we decided that it is time that an event such as this is produced to celebrate, not only, the inner beauty and courage of today’s modern women, but also to simultaneously advocate worldwide marine conservation.

The Miss Scuba International Organization is founded by Mr Robert Lo who is also the proprietor of the Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) and Mabul Water Bungalows, and as such is a strong believer in sustainable development within the realms of our marine environment. He hopes that by sharing the beauty and wonders of the underwater world via beauty queens, it will enable more people to understand how fragile our oceans are and how much more we all need to play our individual little roles to make a big difference in protecting it.

The winning delegate of the Miss Scuba International competition will undertake a year of ocean conservation campaigns to educate and inspire the desire in all of us to do our best to safeguard our oceans. The pageant will also offer her a unique and comprehensive platform to launch her career and personal development.

Additionally, we also aim to promote safe diving practices through worldwide professional training organizations, and elevate international tourism and cultural appreciation. As people travel to far off destinations to dive, they also learn to appreciate the cultural diversity that makes our world such an interesting tapestry.

Low and behold – I was chosen as SCUBA MISS USA 2013!!! I definitely did a little dance of joy and happiness after I got off that faithful phone call. I can’t express how honored and overwhelmed with compassion to represent my amazing country.

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

I am going to Malaysia for 2 weeks in December to compete in the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I never thought I’d participate in a beauty pageant before.. But to be honest, I view this pageant as something so much more. The MSI is sponsored by some big names in the marine conservation, tourism, and diving industries. As many of you know from reading my blog over the years, my passion is marine conservation and photography. I am hoping to gain some valuable connections within the marine conservation industry, and to of course just soak in this amazing once in a lifetime experience!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Although my accommodation while visiting Malaysia is covered, I am personally responsible for my roundtrip airfare (~$2000), plus all of my clothing/accessories needed for the pageant ($1000+). It sure does add up… which is why I am asking for help from all you kind-hearted individuals out there who recognize and appreciate passion when you see it.

I’ve raised almost $1000 so far from so many generous kind people in my life, and even some individuals I don’t even know personally. If you believe in marine conservation, ecotourism, women in science, and environmental education – please donate anything you have to spare :

Chanel’s PayPal Donation page

(Photo: Nicole Strack Photography)

(Photo: Nicole Strack Photography)

 

 Also, please visit my Scuba Miss USA FACEBOOK page and ‘like’ it! I can’t wait to share this amazing adventure with you all!

Women in Science

Science, Thoughts
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California State University Monterey Bay – That’s me!

Imagine a tall, skinny, beautiful New York City professional ballet dancer telling you anything and everything about neuroscience. Pretty hard to imagine right? Now imagine a short, nerdy, conservative, glasses wearing girl explaining the theory of evolution detail by detail. Pretty easy to picture in your head, huh? The media portrays ‘scientists’ as nerdy-socially awkward-not ‘attractive’-etc- which has caused widespread stereotyping across movies and televisions shows.

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Doing larval research on the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a sad but true statement that women don’t get the respect or acknowledgment for their accomplishments nearly as much as men in almost every job field. I have personally witnessed this sexist concept whilst studying in the scientific field of marine biology. Yes, it’s true that men and women are very different – but that doesn’t mean at all that one sex is better/smarter/more advanced than the other. We are all human. We all have a brain. It’s just how you use it that makes us all unique.

I’ve loved science since I was little. And I can bet you that if you took a poll, I wouldn’t fall into the normal ‘nerd’ spectrum that the media portrays. If you watch the Big Bang Theory, I’d probably be placed into the same category as the ‘dumb’ southern blonde girl across the hall than the neuroscientist Cal Tech girl who is socially awkward, dresses frumpy, and wears glasses. If you judge a book by its cover – you will never know the great novel that lies inside.

I fell in love with Chemistry in college – and I even got an A+ in my classes! Who does that?! –> This girl 🙂 Learning how the world works and why makes my brain do cartwheels with excitement. I used to get self conscious for some reason when people called me a nerd – but now I embrace it and wear the title proudly with a smile on my face.

One of the coolest things about science is that : WE ARE ALWAYS DISCOVERING NEW THINGS! Thus, my thirst for knowledge never runs dry – thanks SCIENCE!

I’d like to share with you the inspiration for this post : a great TEDxCal Tech talk about the Myths of Scientists. (You go girl!)

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