I arrived to San Diego in summer of 2012 to begin a Master's degree at San Diego State University. Growing up in Illinois, a landlocked region of the United States, I was always fascinated by the ocean. My trips to the ocean on vacation instilled a sense of intrigue and a shell collection to rival. I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an undergraduate. From there, I ventured to Florida, working as a kayak guide in a wildlife refuge. It became apparent that I wanted to pursue research to answer many of the questions I could not answer for guest I would lead through the mangrove ecosystem in southwest Florida. I managed to secure a position as a researcher on a field project in Curacao, which made me realize my interest in field based investigation of coral ecosystems. It was here that I learned about San Diego State University. I know focus on the microbial communities that live on the skin of sharks, developing understanding for the role of microbes on sharks as well as how microbes interact with the skin of the shark.