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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Belfer

Following in Her Footsteps

One of the greatest life bucket list items for our Director of Education was diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Having an opportunity to learn under some of the most renowned coral reef scientists was an honor. Yet, there are fewer things greater in life than meeting a mentor, a person of stature among scientists around the world.

When Kimberly's first Oceanography teacher, Mrs. Patricia Kingman, told her class that "we know more about what is in outer space than under our oceans, and by the time we learn about them, most of the species will be extinct," it was the eye-opening she needed to propel her life journey into marine biology. As one of the first women scientists and science teachers she was introduced to, Pat also gave her insight into a world of possibilities as a woman of science in her future. Now fully retired, but still teaching about the coast, Pat Kingman has incorporated art into her science, creating Treasures of the Jersey Shore from the items she procures along the waves and making STEAM out of STEM.

This first teacher tugged on Kimberly's heart enough to move her through her career as a marine science educator, and after returning home from Australia, she pursued the body of work that allowed her to fully embrace her coordinator style to start her own business. Even before Marine CSI was fully developed, she still took opportunities to meet with some of the top marine biologists to keep that spirit within her alive.

One such meeting was with the renowned Dr. Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence. From the time Dr. Earle was a young girl, she had a love for the sea and has been diving, learning, and sharing her hope for the future of the world's aquatic ecosystems ever since. Meeting this incredible woman of science, listening to the newest projects she had been working on, and hearing how humble she was even with her famous status, gave Kimberly hope that she too could become what she set out to be.

Today, Dr. Sylvia Earle leads Mission Blue, an organization that designates "Hope Spots" around the world where people can learn about and protect and conserve some of the greatest marine wildlife and ecosystems for future generations. While Kimberly has not reached "Her Deepness" status, as Dr. Earle has been called, she strives every day to continue being a female conservationist through education, incorporating information about these "Hope Spots" into her work.

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