Review: A Discussion with Dr. Kate Moran

Recently, as part of the Inspire Ocean Discussion Series, OSS members were treated to an intimate talk with Dr. Kate Moran . Kate took time out of her considerably busy schedule to share her story, and impart practical advice to the budding scientists of OSS. We learned which traits are most important to have, what skills to focus on, how to determine the limits of our freedom when we finally do land that dream job, and where the future of ocean sciences may be headed. I will do my best to summarize what we heard here if you missed it…

As we navigate our scholastic and professional careers we are encouraged to foster persistence, patience, good communication, and most importantly *kindness*. “Build relationships over time. Be a good friend to the ones you have, and keep making new ones.” In a professional setting try to show empathy to others, even when they’re telling us no, it won’t work, or that it can’t be done. Kate cautioned us to be patient. Persevere. Success comes to those who pay attention, and take opportunities when they come.

When perseverance pays off and we find ourself in a new position, Kate spoke of the importance to take the time to figure out the boundaries of the post/position/job. Familiarizing ourselves with the rules and politics can help us determine the level of freedom we’ve been granted. “Learn when to push back, when to go with the flow, and when to go around,” and endeavour to meet those who can help you if you should find yourself limited by the rules. Pretty excellent advice from someone who spent two years in the White House.

As we spend this time learning in school, the one particular skill Kate advised us to hone is writing. The ability to communicate succinctly comes with practice, and is an essential, highly sought after skill in the work force. Have people read what you’ve written, and encourage them to critique it. Criticism, constructive or otherwise is an excellent opportunity to learn.

So, what is the future of ocean science? Well, the imminent loss of sea ice on our planet will have a huge effect on climate, and our planet as a whole. The certainty of climate change and ocean acidification opens up many new avenues of research, as well as marketable products relating to climate change.  For example: the advent of AccuWeather in the 1970’s was a ‘weather product’ that kept the public better informed as to what to expect with the weather, and a similar need is arising now with climate change.  New products to help planners, farmers, etc adapt to climate change. So, whether your skills lie in science, social science, technology, R&D or teaching, we find ourselves at an exciting time in world history to be a part of ocean sciences.

See you all tomorrow at the next talk (from 2:30-3:30pm same place Grad House room 108) to meet Anna Hall, a marine mammal biologist who is a recent PhD graduate with lots of great insight so far.

-Kim Thornton, OSS Member

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