Staff Profiles - Education Specialist
"The thing that I would have to say that I like the best about my job is watching students when they discover something for the first time. . . Being able to go SCUBA diving, whale watching, kayaking and snorkeling as a part of my job is really great."
Meet Emmelina Mojica
Emmelina sure needs a lot of energy for her job! As an education specialist, she dives into marine science with people of all ages.
During the school year, Emmelina is in charge of teaching school groups about marine science and conservation. She develops special discovery labs that complement the ocean learning students are doing in school. To help share the wonders of the ocean with her students, Emmelina ventures into the field to collect animals for the labs.
When she's not exploring with school groups, Emmelina leads member programs. These programs give her a chance to lead fun activities in the aquarium, outdoor hiking adventures and whale watching trips. Emmelina works with the Student Oceanography Club and this past summer headed up the Young Women in Science program.
How'd you land a job here?
Emmelina sure came a long way from her hometown of Austin, Texas to fulfil her dream! Ever since she can remember, she wanted a job related to the ocean.
For the first three years of her college education, Emmelina attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. An internship in Washington inspired Emmelina to transfer to Western Washington University for her senior year. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S) with an emphasis in marine biology.
Emmelina has done many internships to prepare her for her current job. Two internships, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and the Minorities in Marine Science Undergraduate Program (MIMSUP) were great opportunities for Emmelina to try out her marine science skills.
For one month she took a college course in Vancouver, Canada and stayed on an uninhabited island to study the behavior of orca whales.
After college, Emmelina worked at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, Washington. She then spent two years as Education Programs Technician at the Monterey Bay Aquarium before she switched to her current position as Education Specialist.
Click the play button below to hear what Emmelina likes about her job:
"There are just so many exciting things to get involved in around the aquarium. Just not having enough time to do it all is the main thing that's frustrating because you want to be a part of everything that's offered. It's all so amazing, but there's only so much time in one day."
"It's really important to take as many math and science classes as you can to prepare you for college. It can be difficult to get a career in this field, but stay positive and volunteer for related positions as much as possible. Internships are important for experience as well as for making contacts that could later help in your career. Get involved in water activities: swimming, SCUBA diving, driving boats, kayaking and snorkeling."
These staff profiles were developed by Samantha Kelley who volunteered at the aquarium while attending high school. Not all the people featured still work here, but the profiles provide a good overview of aquarium careers.