Genevie Guevara: Plunging into ocean science

At age 10, Genevie Guevara moved to the Oregon Coast from California, and she didn’t even have to make an effort to see the ocean every single day.

As soon as she was old enough, she began volunteering at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, and she studied as much science as she could fit into her home school curriculum.

“Seeing the ocean every day really sparked a lot in me,” she says. “There’s so much changing in the ocean. I loved learning about different habitats and animals and being able to share that knowledge with people who knew nothing about it.”

Guevara came to Oregon State with a few friends from Newport. Originally, she thought she might study geology, but in summer 2014, a new Ocean Science option was added within the undergraduate Earth Sciences degree in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. When Guevara heard the news, she knew it was exactly what she wanted to pursue.

During spring break of her senior year, Guevara got to test her skills and passion on a multidisciplinary research cruise. Guevara and a group of her undergraduate classmates set out on Oregon State’s research vessel Oceanus to collect samples and data in an area known as the Umpqua River depocenter — a 40-kilometer stretch of river sediment along the continental shelf that brings up questions about land-ocean connectivity, carbon cycling and sediment ecology.

“That trip taught me that I really love doing field work,” Guevara says. “I’m interested in becoming a marine technician, who is the person who goes between the crew of a ship and scientific researchers to make sure everyone is on the same page.”

Genevie Guevara

Guevara will complete an internship at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center this summer and will then consider work and grad school options. However, she says her plans and goals for the future seem ever changing.

“There are so many options available; it’s hard to pick just one,” she says, “I get interested in one thing, and then something new comes along, and I wonder why I haven’t thought about that before.”

As a freshman, Guevara took advantage of Oregon State’s Educational Opportunity Program, which provides personal and academic support to minority and first-generation students. She credits her success to her advisors and the tight-knit relationships she’s made with classmates and friends at Oregon State. That she’s the very first graduate to complete the Ocean Science option makes earning her degree even more satisfying.

“It’s exciting to kind of pave the way for other students,” she says. “It makes me feel a little special that it’s me, and that I get to be a woman in oceanography and do something so great for the university. I’m excited to see the opportunities that incoming students will get to have.”

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