Hello! My name is Astrid Hsu and I am currently a final year Master’s student studying Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in San Diego. My research currently composes of exploring the role of books in aquariums. This is looking at a new approach towards the aquariums experience: currently, aquariums are commonly seen as one-off entertainment centers rather than as a place to learn about marine issues. Combined with the lack of marine literacy among the public, I felt compelled to change the way the world interacts with the ocean. To do this, garnering public interest and maintaining proper communication is critical to science dissemination—whether it is working at the federal level or in local communities.
If I were to dream big, I would love to create a librarium, a cross between a library and an aquarium. Imagine floor to ceiling aquariums for every wall, extra-large shark tunnels, all filled with marine organisms that spark curiosity and lend calmness. Aisles of books relating to the marine sciences will also be available, where people can find in-depth information on the very organisms they see. Ultimately, the building will be a hub of marine life, delivering not only a unique experience, but also harboring specialized knowledge that is presented in an interactive and capturing manner.
My greatest achievement thus far has been analyzing the efficacy of Urban Tides Community Science Initiative, a citizen science program, with SIO and USC Sea Grant. I was able to draw a baseline study looking at who the participants of the initiative are and what their motivations are (for engaging in the program). This information has been shared with other citizen science groups and presented at local conferences.
In my free time, I enjoy hiking, snorkeling, and reading. I also admire teachers, communicators, educators of all kinds. It’s not easy getting people to understand!