Where are they now? Jess Edwards
Where Are They Now?
Visitors to the Ucluelet Aquarium during the summer might notice that every year there is a new cast of characters. This is because, from May until August, the Aquarium hires summer students to help us make sure someone is around to answer your nerdy marine biology questions. What happens to summer students after they leave?
Meet Jess! Jess volunteered with us in 2012, and worked for us as a summer student from 2013-2014. Enjoy summer labs for kids? Jess helped make that program what it is today! She just completed her BSc in Marine Biology from UVIC and is residing full-time in Ucluelet. We sat down with Jess to find out what she's up to now!
Q: So, Jess, for those of us who don't know, how did you get your start with the Aquarium?
A: I had been to the mini, I took my grandmother to the mini and she absolutely refused to put her hands in the touch tank but I made her do it and she had a great time. I knew I wanted to work there. While I was studying at Bamfield, I saw the posting go up for a summer student, skipped part of my class for the interview, but couldn’t make it back in time for the job because my class went three weeks later than the start date. So I volunteered that summer instead, while working at Jamie’s Whaling Station, and I was hired the next summer. Laura (our curator) and I hatched some amazing plans for summer labs, so I hounded her for an entire year to find grant funding to hire me the next summer.
Q: What's the best part of working for the Ucluelet Aquarium?
A: Getting hesitant visitors to hold or touch one of creatures in a touch tank and blowing their minds with nerdy marine biology facts. Really, and put this in all caps, BLOWING PEOPLE’S MINDS ON A REGULAR BASIS. And wrestling the octopus.
Q: So, the big question, what are you doing now?
A: I am the research and administrative assistant of for the Strawberry Isle Marine Resarch Society in Tofino, BC. It is fabulous. I’m excited for an awesome summer of learning an unbelievable amount of cool things and engaging in both communities.
Q: Did working at the Aquarium help you with your studies?
A: Absolutely. When I went into animal behaviour after my first summer working at the aquarium, and we did lab trials with sunflower sea stars and the swimming scallop and we had to guess what was going to happen. I already knew!
Q: Do you have any advice for this year's crop of summer students?
A: Yes. But make it sound like I'm not being bossy on this one. First: Start thinking about your Ukee Days costumes now. Don't be afraid to show your nerdiness! And, finally, get ready for the best summer job you've ever had.