Biology student gets $2500 scholarship

LONG BEACH - Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) sophomore Kristin Johnson has been awarded a $2,500 scholarship by the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA), a nonprofit group that gives the annual award to a graduate or undergraduate student seeking a degree in the marine sciences field.Working toward a B.S. in marine biology and a B.A. in geography (as well as a minor in environmental science and policy), Johnson was recognized as the winner of this year's MASNA Student Scholarship at the Marine Aquarium Conference of North American (MACNA) in Orlando. "I received a phone call while I was out to breakfast with my family. I didn't recognize the area code and I just had a feeling that it was regarding the scholarship," Johnson recalled. "I answered calmly and it was indeed the vice president of MASNA. So, I started flailing my arms around to let my family know that it was 'the call.' My favorite part of the whole scene was the glistening in my father's eyes; I know I truly made him proud that day." Johnson said the scholarship was very generous at $2,500, and it allowed her to put a significant dent in her spring tuition. "However, what I believe truly assisted me in achieving my future education and career goals was being flown to Orlando to attend MACNA as an additional gift from MASNA," she pointed out. "I was able to network with numerous influential scientists in the marine biology and various other fields and attend many intriguing lectures that weekend." At CSULB, she is president of the Marine Biology Student Association, and she is interested in the proliferation and successful management of the sustainable fishery industry. However, Johnson's interest in the ocean is more than just academic. She also keeps two saltwater aquariums and is a certified scuba diver. "My interest in the marine sciences was sparked back in my junior year of high school when I attended a school field trip to the Catalina Island Marine Institute," Johnson recalled. "That trip served as a catalyst and inspired me to become a docent at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and an education volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach." Johnson is interested in a several different of career opportunities, including employment with the California Department of Fish and Game as a warden or other related law enforcement positions that protect the environment; a career in the private sector working with the management of fisheries; or a career in an aquarium, museum or zoo, participating in the design, development and maintenance of aquatic and marine habitats. MASNA is an organization composed of marine aquarium clubs and individual hobbyists from North America and abroad, totaling several thousand individuals. Its goals are to educate its members with online and published materials, the MACNA conference and other sanctioned events. It also assists in forming and promoting the growth of clubs within the hobby while ensuring a sustainable future for the marine environment, and it supports the efforts to eliminate abuses in collecting and transporting marine organisms through education, assistance and encouragement.

********** Published: January 13, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 39

FeaturesEric Pierce