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Identifying animals for the public on a collecting walk. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Woods Hole Science Aquarium
Preparing capelin to feed to the aquarium animals. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Woods Hole Science Aquarium

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September 14, 2016
Contact: Shelley Dawicki
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« 2016 WHSA Summer Interns

Jessica Perelman

Unlike some of the other Woods Hole Science Aquarium summer college interns, Jessica Perelman’s path to Woods Hole was a bit different.  Although she found the internship opportunity online, she needed funding and had to find it herself.  She did, through The Safina Center, and as part of that arrangement wrote several blogs about her experiences during the summer which appeared on both the Safina Center’s web site and National Geographic’s web site “Ocean Views.”

A recent graduate of the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, Perelman has been accepted to veterinary school at the University of Florida but is taking a gap year “to explore the world of ocean sciences and see how I can combine my love of veterinary medicine with marine research.” 

She grew up in Glencoe, Illiniois, a suburb of Chicago, but her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona a few years ago. Her grandfather was an organic chemist, but neither of her two sisters or other family members are involved in science.  She enjoys distance running, and likes to hike, bake and cook in her free time.

Working in an aquarium was nothing new to Perelman.  For several years during college she worked at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, helping out in the education and marine mammal husbandry departments and at small animal vet clinics.  In Woods Hole, she shadowed and assisted the veterinarians who came to work on the aquarium animals, an experience that has helped solidify her desire to continue pursuing opportunities in marine science and veterinary medicine.

She was surprised, in a very positive way, by the openness of the staff to try new things, and enjoyed the lectures and presentations by NOAA Fisheries staff and other scientists during her stay. “They really encouraged all the interns to take advantage of the opportunities we had, and there were a lot!”

The chance to visit nearby locations such as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and New Bedford and learn about the history associated with each place has been an added bonus to the internship program. “This experience has meant the world to me. It has introduced me to so many new opportunities, great people, and a thriving little village that revolves around one of my greatest passions, the ocean.” 

Being in a small village was a positive experience. “I absolutely love the small town feel of Woods Hole, and the fact that it is a little village dedicated to science. It’s an incredible feeling to be surrounded by such important research and discoveries that take place here, and to be amongst people from all over the world.”

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