How do you think the internship will help you in your career?
During my time as a volunteer and as an intern I was taught the basics of animal care for several different species of local and foreign species, and now I know how to learn the ins and outs of animal care in general. I also learned how to think on my feet in a lab setting, and the uncertainty that comes from working with live animals.
What’s one fun thing you learned during your internship that you didn’t expect?
I learned how to avoid getting splashed by and octopus’s siphon! They don’t love being taken out of their homes when the tanks had to be cleaned, so they would shoot water at me. I learned the warning signs of when it looks like they’re getting agitated and how to dodge their jets of water(they have really good aim!)
Do you have a favorite anecdote from your internship?
I cannot speak highly enough about all my time at the MRC, but a highlight was definitely when I got to go squid collecting on The Gemma, the MBL’s trawler. We went a few places around Vineyard Sound where the water was hundreds of fathoms (aka really) deep and went trawling for squid for some of the researchers. The trawlers picked up a lot of squid, but also a lot of other things, including some little skates and smooth dogfish. The highlight of the trip for me was getting to hold the dogfish and release her back to the wild where she belongs.
CORRECTION: This story originally said O’Connor was an intern under the “Blue Economy Internship Program (BEIP),” but the BEIP program is only available to students at public undergraduate and high schools in Massachusetts. O’Connor was a regular MBL intern.