Meet the Majors

Michaela Guy ’22

Biology

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About Michaela

Class of 2022

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Biology

Minor: Marine Ecology

House: King

Other clubs, sports, etc:
House President Association, Smith Kpop Dance Crew, GoldKey

Describe your major/minor in 5 words or less.
Fun, challenging, friendship, crabs, wet.

What’s your “Big Dream” for your future?
My big dream for my future would just be having a career working in sustainable and equitable fisheries management. I want to build relationships with stakeholders and help save the oceans’ fish populations while making sure everyone has a seat at the table.

What was one thing that surprised you most about your major/minor?
I was surprised at the number of different disciplines through which I could work with ocean creatures/data. I’ve come across marine animals in an ecology class, an invertebrates class and a genomics class.

Did you ever have trouble deciding on your minor? What, ultimately, helped you decide?
For me there was never any question that I would be pursuing this minor, I’ve wanted to be a marine biologist since I was in the second grade. However, my continued work with Professor Paulette Peckol across my four years would have convinced me to take this minor even if I wasn’t already planning on it.

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As part of your minor, you’ve worked on marine science courses and have conducted marine-related research. Could you talk a little about those experiences? Was there something interesting or unique about the research that stands out?
Doing marine research has been one of the highlights of my Smith career, no doubt! The marine ecology lab has become like a second home to me on campus and I feel very comfortable and at home there. The parts of my work/research in this department that stand out to me would be my experience with SURF and helping Paulette put together her Marine Ecology and BIO 130 classes. SURF research allowed me to really know what it was like to do fieldwork, we went to some really gorgeous research sites! I also learned about designing and conducting behavioral experiments in the lab, which was mostly fun because the crabs were ADORABLE! Additionally, my work in Paulette’s classes has taught me a lot about how to communicate science to students or even a general audience while working with a fellow scientist.

If someone was considering a marine science degree, what would you tell them?
If working with the ocean is your passion, just go for it! I can’t tell you how many times people would discourage me when I told them I wanted to be a marine biologist, and not listening to them is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I have had some unbelievable adventures just in my undergraduate career and I can now clearly see and pursue, no pun intended, a sea of opportunities for the future.

I have had some unbelievable adventures just in my undergraduate career and I can now clearly see and pursue, no pun intended, a sea of opportunities for the future.

Describe one moment with a professor that has particularly stuck with you.
(I know I keep talking about Paulette in my answers, but she’s seriously my go-to person now). A moment that stands out was the first time I ever met Paulette and talked to her about marine science and, more specifically, her marine ecology class. We were at Connections during first-year orientation and I was so nervous to talk to her. Once I had a conversation with her, I was devastated to find out that she had a policy of not letting first-year students into that particular course. However, in true Smithie fashion, I emailed her every piece of academic work in biology/ marine science I had ever done in my life and begged her to give me a chance in the class. She ultimately agreed and, not only do we now have a wonderful working relationship and friendship but she also has taken away that restriction and has had many more first years in marine ecology ever since!

What spot on campus will you miss the most? Where was your favorite place to meet friends?
I will miss Paradise Pond. Walking by it on my way to class every morning, it has such a calming presence that always helps me start my day. I will also miss the King House loggia. My friends and I meet there for almost every meal, almost every day.

What’s your all-time (big or small) favorite Smith memory?
That’s such a hard question, it’s really hard to pick. One of my favorite Smith memories is performing with my dance crew in the Asian Culture Show and Rhythm Nations in my senior year. I have made so many friends in SKDC and any time I get to perform with them is a really big high point for me!

If you could tell an incoming first-year anything about Smith, what would it be?
This is a community that will make you feel safe and at home as you explore life as an undergraduate student. It is also a community that will continue to support you the rest of your life and that’s what makes Smith so special.

What do you think has been the most “Smithie” thing you’ve done in life so far?
During the pandemic, when I was living off-campus in Northampton, I went and had an apple picking picnic by myself on Mountain Day because the tradition was too important to miss!

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