Center For Ocean Sciences Education Excellence COSEE Island Earth
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FEATURED SCIENTIST OF THE MONTH: Ku'ulei Rodgers - 09.10.2013

Hometown: Born in Honolulu, Hawai'i but grew up in Waimanalo

Occupation: Coral Reef Ecologist

Research Interests: I am passionate about the effects of Climate Change on our coral reef systems, and I am very interested in long term monitoring of the system: coral, fish, etc. This drives my work with The Hawai'i Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP).

Interests Growing up: My father was an avid surfer and I started surfing at a young age. I also really enjoyed reading fantasy novels and spent a lot of time at the library.

How I got into Marine Science: You can say that I am a non-traditional student. I had already had my first grandchild by the time I got my Ph.D. I had actually left school at an early age (half way through 9th grade), but eventually made my way back to academics about 20 years later. I always had a deep interest in the oceans and marine biology, but before returning to academia, I had many experiences that reinforced these interests and encouraged me to return to school.

I worked as a marine mammal trainer at Sea Life Park and volunteered with marine scientists such as Drs. Fennie Cox and Paul Jokiel. I joyfully give them credit for getting me through my degree programs and for being great mentors. It was during my time working with them that I realized that science was not as hard as I thought and that I could do it!

The University of Hawai'i has facilitated many career-related opportunities for me: volunteering, working at the Hawai'i Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), career fairs, the Marine Options Program and more. I am thankful.

Scientific Mission: To improve the health of reef systems.

Advice for Young Scientists: Take advantage of all opportunities to learn and gain experience; volunteer; get involved. When you participate, you gain valuable experience and meet key people in your field of interest. You make important connections.

Questions for Ku'ulei? Contact her here:

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