#18: Dive Buddies - Co-op Student

My name is Stephany and I am the Northeastern University co-op student for the New England Aquarium dive team. Every 6 months the Aquarium takes on college student from Northeastern as a full time staff member to help manage and care for the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT). This is such a unique and exciting experience and I am so fortunate to have been chosen for these past 6 months. I work for school credit and it's a nice break from school for a while, not to mention that I get to dive in the GOT everyday! I also understand what a great help I am to the staff and that is very fulfilling.

Me with my gear

It's so much fun to be able to feed the top predators in the GOT, including green morays, sand tiger sharks, and our ferocious nurse shark Bimini. (Just kidding, she's actually a big baby that sometimes sits on your lap so you wont forget to feed her).

Bimini the nurse shark

Feeding Galilee, one of the sand tiger sharks

Feeding a cownose ray

Not only did I get to partake in management of the GOT, but also in the healthcare of some of our turtles. I was able to help out and observe our annual turtle exams and help bring our smallest turtle, Scute, who is a Kemp's ridley, to Tufts Veterinary Hospital.

A picture from Scute's medical exam

It's also an amazing job because I get to meet a myriad of people from different cultures which means a lot to me. I was born in Venezuela and am fluent in both Spanish and English. I also learned Portuguese several years ago, allowing me to socialize and teach a larger, more diverse group of people which is a great experience. I enjoy teaching people about the 600+ fish and the 130+ different species in the GOT - it is incredibly rewarding. My language also allows me to help out at the Aquarium. For instance, I helped translate for a new media tour that will be put in place soon at the Aquarium. You can download the tour onto your iPod or other mobile device and get the inside story on the Aquarium's exhibits. You can check it out on this NEAq Insider page.

Feeding Myrtle the green sea turtle

My experience has been unforgettable and has helped me learn so much about myself and what I want to do in the future. It also has taught me how to lead a blue lifestyle and that "It's easy to make a difference for the oceans by making small changes in your daily life", in Spanish, "Es fácil mejorar los océanos al hacer pequeños cambios en nuestra vida diaria.", or in Portuguese, "É fácil melhorar os oceanos fazendo pequenas alterações em sua vida diaria".



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