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It was not until a marine biology class during his senior year of college that Pat Drupp first considered ocean sciences as a potential career. Growing up in Pennsylvania and traveling everywhere as a child except the beach, the ocean seemed like a faraway exotic place. He initially went to Clemson University for architecture, but after quickly leaving the program, Pat studied biophysics and had a strong interest in chemistry and geology. The marine biology course was a last-semester elective that would surprisingly lead to a summer marine zoology program and an application to the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of Oceanography. Freely admitting that he knew almost nothing about oceanography, he left the East Coast in June 2007 for Hawai‘i to join the Marine Geochemistry Division.
Pat quickly fell in love with his research (and Hawai‘i in general), which involved a large amount of fieldwork in Käne‘ohe Bay. He completed his master’s degree in chemical oceanography in the spring of 2010 and decided to stay with his research group to pursue his PhD. His research focus began to shift towards ocean acidification, climate change, and long-term carbon dioxide monitoring. At the same time, he took a lecturer position at Kapi‘olani Community College, teaching OCN201: Introduction to Oceanography where he taught for eight semesters. The experience ultimately changed his career path as he became more interested in science education, communication, and policy. He enjoys discussing and presenting science – specifically ocean acidification and climate change – to non-scientific audiences and believes that there is often a large disconnect between the science community and the broader public. This eventually led him to apply for the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in an effort to work on the communication and policy side of science.
As a Knauss Fellow in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education, Pat has the opportunity to work with scientists and educators to advance NOAA’s education mission and to increase the scientific understanding of stakeholders, legislators, and the public. During the 2015 fellowship, he will be supporting NOAA’s education council, assisting with education funding opportunities, and producing ocean acidification content for NOAA’s Science on a Sphere program. He is most excited about the latter, because he can work directly on his goal of increasing public awareness and understanding of ocean acidification as a key environmental issue.
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