Mariah '25, an incoming freshman at Santa Catalina School, was one of 10 students to win an all-expenses-paid trip to study coral reefs in Hawaii this summer.
Mariah was a winner of the 2021 Planet Green Science Trip competition organized by the Frank Ski Kids Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing young people to their future through science, technology, athletics, and the arts. Students submitted essays and gave presentations at the Georgia Aquarium; Mariah's topic was overfishing of coral reefs.
Competition winners became PADI certified scuba divers, then traveled to Hawaii from July 17-23 to study coral reefs and fish diversity and health while learning lab and field techniques alongside scientists from the Georgia Aquarium and San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay.
Why did you apply to the competition?
I love the ocean and all of its mysteries, so I felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to take a journey, explore, and really get a hands-on experience with the help of Frank Ski and professional divers.
What was your favorite part about the experience?
My favorite part of the experience was being able to breathe underwater and seeing the drastic changes between the healthy and the bleached coral reefs. It really gave me a whole different view on ocean life.
How do you hope to build on this interest at Catalina?
I plan to participate in the Marine Ecology Research Program. This will allow me to continue to expand my knowledge and pursue this dream of mine.