Post-Graduation (but not Post-Albion)

My turn!

To begin, I’d like to briefly introduce myself.  I’m Mary.  I am originally from Grandville, MI  and I am now officially an Albion alumna.  Weird!  I would have to say that it is definitely a strange feeling and much different than graduating from high school.  There is something about packing up 4 years of college and moving out of a place that has become home that is a bit sad – even if you will be back.

I think it finally hit me when I was at the ceremony, walking into the Dow Center (where unfortunately graduation was held due to weather) where all the wonderful professors, who have become mentors and friends, line the walkway for students on their way in to find their seats.  They were all cheering and shouting for us.

It hit me again when I was driving out of Albion for the last time. I thought of all the times I casually drove out of there and wondered when I would ever drive this way again.  My parents even questioned if they would have a reason to come back to Albion – after all I am the youngest child and they are die-hard MSU fans.

In the craziness of graduation weekend, I didn’t even go home; instead, I went to my sister’s house for a little grad party – with two carloads of my stuff in tow.  It was a fun little time seeing a few friends and family (and of course it was Florida-themed – more on that in a moment!)

Mary Applegate '10 with dressage coach Danielle Menteer.

I was the Most Valuable Rider on the dressage team this year; here I am receiving my award from coach Danielle Menteer.

I think one of my highlights of the weekend was the drive home, however.  I have to say I must have had the best co-pilot in the world:  a 2 foot inflated whale!  He was part of my decorations and HAD to come home with me!  Honestly, it was one of those moments where you almost wish you get pulled over just to see the cop’s reaction.  There I was:  a 21 year old girl driving home at night with a big plastic whale in the passenger seat and four years worth of college stuff crammed into a little Honda.  (I think I could have gotten out of the ticket just for giving him a good laugh.) 🙂

Now starts the dreaded unpacking and finding places for all the random stuff you acquire while you live at college.  And this is only the first time I’ll do it – I have to sort through all this very carefully now and not lose those things I want to move down south with later this summer.  What’s more, I just found out that I am going to see my brother in Australia in a couple of weeks – which means more packing!  (I look forward to posting from there – hopefully with some really good pictures!)

I have also planned a summer packed full of ponies!  I have moved into a new barn with my horse Lilly, where she will likely begin to teach little kids as well as being fun for me.  (She is coming 21 and has fought through tendon injuries as of late, so she can’t do too much.)  I also plan to find some horses to do some showing with, at least locally.

This is probably a good time to tell you a bit about what I will be doing my life post Albion:

In mid-July, I will start an internship with Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Florida.  Mote is a research and education facility started in 1955 when it was a one woman operation!  It now has seven research centers and employs more that 230 staff, including 40 Ph.D scientists who are leaders in their respective research fields.  

Mote Marine Lab is an organization dedicated to advancing the science of the sea and concentrates on near-shore research.  (Needless to say as an ocean enthusiast who loves marine science and wants it to be part of my career, I am thrilled and honored to have this opportunity!)  My duties will be in the stranding investigation program, which means that I am on call 24 hours a day to respond to calls of any marine mammal or sea turtle stranded in or near coastal waters.

In English, this means that when a marine mammal or sea turtle is stranded on or near shore, I get called.  We will then transport the animal to Mote’s rehabilitation center or (in the event we can’t rescue them) return them to Mote for post-mortem investigations.  The goal of the project is to understand the natural history of turtles and marine mammals by investigating the mortality as it relates to the animals’ pathological conditions and to human-related activities.  This data is crucial to the implement of management and conservation efforts to protect these animals.

As I will be an intern in marine science in Florida, you no doubt wonder what is to come of my internship as a result of the oil spill and, unfortunately, I don’t entirely know yet.  The spill is a serious threat to the ocean and the reefs and creatures which inhabit it.  Mote however has dedicated its resources and scientists to mobilize in the efforts to protect the Gulf.

For information on the spill and Mote’s efforts, I suggest checking out their website www.mote.org/oilresponse.  I’ll also update you through my future posts.

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