Azura is helping Frisco, Texas, student Alexandria Hahn complete the Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) Program. ISM is a rigorous, challenging, and rewarding course offered for academically gifted and high-achieving junior and senior students at Frisco Independent School District high schools. The students research careers and specific topics related to their chosen fields of study. Students conduct informational interviews with professionals in this chosen field and carefully choose a mentor with whom to work for the remainder of the year.
Alexandria is researching marine mammal science and has chosen Amy Whitt, Azura’s CEO and Senior Scientist, as her mentor for this program. The skills Alexandria will learn in this program will not only give her a feeling of independence that she will have in college and beyond but also help her to gain the confidence needed to succeed and be comfortable in the professional world.
During this semester, Alexandria will develop an Original Work, an authentic piece of work that represents what she is passionate about in the marine mammal field. After consulting with Amy and doing some background research, she learned that commercial fishing gear is a problem for many marine mammals. Upon learning that entanglement in gillnets is the single greatest cause of decline of the vaquita porpoise, Alexandria felt inclined to develop her Original Work on the rapid decline of this species which lives only in the northern Gulf of California in Baja California, Mexico. Alexandria will conduct an extensive literature review on the ecology and conservation management of the vaquita. By highlighting this species as a case study, she hopes to pull at the heartstrings of her peers and the general public to engage them in marine mammal conservation.
Alexandria’s final product will be a well written manuscript that is of the highest quality and that could be submitted for publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal. This manuscript, which Alexandria will develop from her research, will serve as a foundation for her continued growth in the marine science field. Through this process, Alexandria will learn about the critical skills and efforts that are required to develop a solid, scientific paper. These skills are often overlooked when students are pursuing careers in the marine sciences. They often focus on the fun and exciting fieldwork component of these careers. However, being able to effectively compile, review, and synthesize literature and data into comprehensive pieces that are both informative and engaging are critical skills that all scientists must have if they are to be successful.
We are very proud of Alexandria’s efforts so far with this project. She has the passion, dedication, and drive that will take her far in the marine mammal science world!
Follow Alexandria’s journey here.