Inspiring conservation efforts with meaningful opportunity through Stanford

Natasha Batista, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
Stanford University offers a variety of unique opportunities for its students to engage in ocean sciences. As a student studying and teaching interdisciplinary environmental science, these programs have transformed how I approach ocean sciences academically and professionally. The opportunities are made possible by collaborations with other academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and governments. For instance, the Stanford@SEA program partners with the Sea Education Association to introduce students to marine biology and oceanography alongside sail handling aboard a tall ship. While snorkeling through coral reefs and counting parrotfish, I came to understand the dynamic nature of field sciences and fell in love with being at sea. Stanford’s Wrigley Field Program in Hawai'i also exposes students to field research techniques on land and in the ocean and emphasizes partnerships with local communities. Learning about Hawaiian’s connections with their islands and participating in culturally significant restoration efforts ingrained in me the importance of using science as a tool for promoting positive social change and sustainability efforts.

Outside of courses, Stanford provides students with a variety of ways to undertake significant work experiences. With funding from the Haas Center for Public Service and Stanford Global Studies program, I interned with the Morigenos Marine Mammal Center in Slovenia and participated in citizen science projects and marine conservation efforts. Similarly, Stanford’s Mentoring Undergraduates in Interdisciplinary Research program allowed me to work for the Center for Ocean Solutions and contribute significantly to research and analysis on a national-level fisheries adaptation policy and coastal management plans. My experience with Stanford programs have substantively contributed to my learning about the ocean and have given me a sense of direction for my plans post-graduation.