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Sonya Lee talks about third year

A day in the life

Sonya Lee talks about third year

sonya lee_portrait_3_32775 (2)

There are so many great opportunities at Dal and I’ve really learned a lot here. I really love the Marine Biology program.

Exploring marine conservation issues


Not many students would turn down the opportunity to live and work in Bermuda for the summer semester.

Sonya Lee, pursuing a double major in Marine Biology and Political Science—and a minor in Environmental Science—is doing the Science Co-op program. And guess where she did her first co-op work term: “I worked as a scientific diver at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, in the Marine Environmental program,” she smiles. “I went scuba diving three to four times a day, doing underwater surveys to count coral diseases and coral mortalities.”

“It was lovely to be there—it was so nice and warm,” Sonya adds. “And it was great to be in a scientific community, working with people from different fields of study and parts of the world.”

From Vancouver originally, Sonya says she chose Dal because “I knew it was the best in the country for marine sciences. But I also wanted to experience living in a smaller city and see a different part of the country—bye, mom!” she jokes, waving.

“I first thought of becoming a marine biologist at age eight—I’ve always loved the ocean, but initially it was about cute dolphins,” she smiles. “I used to take out library books on whales and dolphins.”

Now, Sonya’s leaning towards marine conservation issues—fisheries management, in particular. “My childhood friends remember when I used to talk about saving the whales: ‘We thought you were joking!’ they say. ‘We never thought you’d follow through with it!”

Sonya isn’t yet sure what she’ll do when she graduates. “I’m into the idea of working for an international NGO, doing marine conservation in small, developing communities, educating them to govern themselves.”

The social aspects of conservation issues are important to Sonya. “They’re key to bringing about change. In some developing countries, people exploit their resources without knowing how valuable they are,” she explains. “I want to help them realize that what they have is amazing, and help them protect those resources while still ensuring they have a livelihood.”

But she says she’s happy to go wherever life happens to take her: “I wanted to be a dolphin trainer before!” she laughs. “But now I want to work in fisheries conservation. So it’s all just transitions.”