Ask a Marine Biologist: Megan Beazley
By: Megan Beazley High School Adventures, Marine Biology
At Broadreach, one of our main goals is to help middle and high school students discover their passions through real-life experiences during our summer programs. If you’re like many Broadreach alumni, you’re wondering how to pursue these interests in college and beyond. We asked one of the rockstar instructors in our Broadreach community, marine biologist, Megan Beazley, to share her experiences and advice with future marine biologists!
What did you study as an undergrad? What advanced degrees and/or professional qualifications do you hold?
I did a BS in Biology with a Marine Biology Specialization at Oregon State University and an MS in Tropical Marine Biology and Ecology at James Cook University in Australia.
What is your relationship with Broadreach?
What do you do when not working with Broadreach?
I am currently based at a dive shop called Ocean Encounters on Curacao (I got the job through my progam work with Broadreach this past summer). My job is divided into two parts: In the mornings I work as a dive instructor/dive guide on the boat and in the afternoon I am the coordinator of our coral restoration program, Reef Renewal Curacao. As coordinator for Reef Renewal Curacao, I work in the water to maintain our coral nurseries and outplant corals. We do asexual reproduction of staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals. On land, I manage our intern and volunteer program, keep a log of our outplanting numbers and locations, and manage emails and donations to the program. To learn more about the project, you can visit https://www.reefrenewalcuracao.org/.
What do you love the most about what you currently do?
I love my job. I get to teach people about coral and marine life, and then I get to show them through the Open Water Course or on guided dives. I love getting out of the water and hearing divers remark on the beauty of the reef or the cool fish they saw. I am also involved in active coral restoration work; our program has outplant over 10,000 corals since it started in 2015. You can see the difference it has made on the reef in terms of coral growth and fish abundance, and I feel like I’m doing my part to help the corals.
What skills help you the most to do what you do?
Scuba diving, science communication, marine life identification, organization, data entry and organization, leadership, teamwork, patience, and a positive attitude!
What’s something you didn’t know about your profession or field that you wish you had known as a teenager?
To be a marine biologist does not mean you have to be a researcher (but you can be if you want to!). There are lots of different fields within marine biology other than research, such as education, underwater technology, aquarium management or scientific art. I realized that I loved education and practical application, and that led me down the road to being a Marine Science Instructor, SSI Open Water Dive Instructor and Coordinator of Reef Renewal Curacao.
What advice do you have for teens who are in becoming marine biologists?
Get involved! A good way to figure out what you want to do is to try it. I participated in a few marine biology programs outside of school, and it was there that I realized I loved learning about marine life. I also volunteered in my dad’s insurance office and with a horse vet – neither of these options was for me, but I found that out because I tried them. During my undergrad and master’s degrees, I volunteered in different labs to help Ph.D. students and professors with their research. I highly recommend volunteering and interning because you get hands-on experience in your field and you make connections with people who can answer questions, give advice, and write recommendation letters.
Do you have a favorite Broadreach memory you’d like to share?
My favorite memory is watching Finding Nemo (requested on most of my programs by students) with my students after they complete their marine biology course, and listening to them comment about how they now have a better comprehension of the marine life and biological concepts in the film.
Megan is a repeat Broadreach instructor, marine biologist and scuba instructor working in coral restoration. She has led our Caribbean Marine Biology Voyage and Curaçao Marine Biology programs.