Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Life at sea leading to a love of the sea

Today's post is from Brooke Winslow. Brooke is studying Ocean Engineering at MIT in Boston and had the unique experience of sailing with her family on a 40' boat for 2 years!

Hello, my name's Brooke. I am a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. I am studying ocean engineering, which is closely related to mechanical engineering, except specifically for ocean-going systems. I am member of the MIT sailing team along with fellow Rozalia Project intern and MIT student, Miss. Laura Dunphy. My hobbies include kayaking, hiking, tennis, drawing and painting, syfy and fantasy books, and frolicking in the water. 

I am originally from Washington State, where I grew up sailing with my family in the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. We owned a thirty foot Newport, and it was great to grow up sailing and catching crab on weekends. When my older sister and I were in middle school/ junior high, our parents talked about longer-term trips, possibly going far south to Mexico. They said it was a dream of theirs, and if my sister and I wanted to do it too, we could. That is how my family ended up selling the Newport, buying a cruising-ready Valient 40, and moving onto Our Tern for the next two years while I was 12-14 years old. In those two years we went from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, to El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and as far West as Hawaii. We took our time, meeting local families in the beachside towns and cities we stayed in and enjoying the natural beauty and diversity of the warm climate. 

After living at sea and crossing oceans, there is no doubt that I love the sea and all the life it holds and nurtures. After returning to Washington  I decided to enter the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA). For my junior and senior years of high school I attended ORCA and had the opportunity to collect and analyze data regarding the state of the health of Possession Sound, the very same place I had grown up sailing all those years. From this analysis and the blatant contrast I could see from my travels, it became clear that ecosystems closely linked geographically to highly developed regions are struggling to survive and sadly lacking in diversity. By studying ocean engineering it is my hope that I will be able to contribute to the movement taking place to clean up the oceans and take better care of the organisms that rely on it to survive. This is why I am super excited to be part of the Rozalia Project. The Project is making powerful steps to fight pollution in marine ecosystems and destruction of marine habitats. I am prepared to do my share of the work to make their vision a reality.

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