An Interview with WiseOceans… Samantha Mackiewicz from The Oceans Project and World Oceans Day
This week to celebrate World Oceans Day on the 8th June 2018, we spoke to World Oceans Day Director, Samantha Mackiewicz. Samantha discusses what led her to a career in marine conservation and how starting as an intern led her to become Director of World Oceans Day. Samantha also highlights that not all marine conservationists have to be scientists or policy makers and that you can still make a huge difference in many other roles.
Name: Samantha Mackiewicz
Job Title: World Oceans Day Director
Organisation: The Oceans Project & World Oceans Day
What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
Growing up on the Connecticut shoreline and travelling to many coastal locations throughout the world, I have always been drawn to the ocean. With every beautiful portion of the ocean I discovered, I also found signs that the ocean was in peril. Plastic pollution and coral bleaching were just some of the issues I witnessed from an early age. These experiences inspired me to pursue a career in marine conservation and inspire the public to respect, love and care for our ocean.
What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
Working as the World Oceans Day Director at The Ocean Project has allowed me to reach a number of my career goals. I am able to inspire thousands of people to care for the sea through managing our online presence. My position also allows me to collaborate with hundreds of partner organizations around the world to expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day.
How did you land your current job/position?
I started working at The Ocean Project through our internship program, was hired as a full time employee the same year, and have been working as the World Oceans Day Director for two years.
Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy working with partners and event organizers to ensure that their World Oceans Day celebrations are not only fun, but are also taking meaningful action for the ocean.
Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Every World Oceans Day, I see thousands of people taking action through events and sharing messages of love for the ocean on social media. Seeing how World Oceans Day unites people from around the world makes realize that my work is truly making a difference.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
I wish I knew that there are many different avenues to pursue a career in marine conservation. In my case, I did not need to be a scientist or a policy maker to make a difference for the ocean.
Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
A large portion of my job is focused on online communications including social media and website management. All of the computer skills I learned in my studies have been essential to my work.
What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Network within the marine conservation community by participating in as many ocean conservation and youth leadership opportunities as possible. Many organizations have youth programs and councils to join. Check out the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council program and our larger Youth for the Ocean initiative.
What is your favourite marine creature and why?
My favorite marine creature is the sea turtle. I am always in awe of their gracefulness as they swim through the ocean.
What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
I was SCUBA diving on a wall dive in the Cayman Islands and saw a massive spotted eagle ray glide through the open ocean. The image of the eagle ray’s distinct spots against the background of the rich blue waters of the Caribbean Sea is something I will never forget.
Thanks Samantha, for that inspiring interview. What an amazing opportunity World Oceans Day provides, engaging people in marine conservation and ocean issues worldwide. Remember to raise awareness on World Oceans Day using #worldoceansday and ditch those plastic straws, bags and bottles! Together we can make a difference.
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