Featured Scientist: Eric Tong - 02.17.2014
Hometown: Kaneohe, Hawaii
Occupation: Biological Oceanography Graduate Student
Research Interests: My main concern is marine conservation. I am especially interested in species that humans interact with; those that play a role in the human way of life – for example, opihi
Interests Growing up: I was always into nature and the environment – enjoying all ocean and mauka activities. I went camping and hiking and I found myself very much in tune with a sense of what it means to be an islander. I have a deep respect for the human relationship with our environment. I also enjoy music and just jamming with friends, hanging out on the beach, fishing, and ono seafood! I play the guitar and ukulele and also picked up the keyboard. I remember always being interested in current and/or world events and learning different languages.
How I got into Marine Science: Ocean studies has always been a primary interest for me and I and completed my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology. I felt a need to care for our islands and protect all things Hawaii. It is this call that drives me; a call to do my part. After college, I basically started off as a “foot soldier” in conservation, participating in restoration and monitoring work in both marine and terrestrial systems. I found cool jobs that put me to work outside at the beach and on boats, and I sought out projects that worked either against invasive species or to promote native species. I decided to go to graduate school because I wanted to further my studies and build on what I already knew, in order to make a bigger impact in conservation. I want to carve out my own niche.
Scientific Mission: I want my science to inform policy to preserve our natural and cultural resources; to ensure the longevity of this harmony between humans and the environment.
Advice for Young Scientists: Make good connections. Be open-minded; mentors come in all forms. Be as involved with your kupuna as you are with your teachers, and vice versa. Always do what feels right and work hard; there is much to gain.
Questions for Eric? Contact him here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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