Alexis Haifley, 2018 Cohort

After completing my undergrad in Criminal Justice, I worked several jobs in government service and the non-profit sector before moving to Olympia and getting a job with the state. I currently work full time, so when school is in session I'm definitely limited on my free time. However, during summer break I enjoy traveling, hiking, scuba diving, and reading books for fun.

Woman smiling with boat background

I was encouraged to apply to MES because my supervisor and several coworkers are alumni of the program and highly recommended it. I wanted to gain expertise in marine sciences, build community, and explore networking opportunities, and MES seemed like a great fit.

Honestly, it has turned out to be that great fit; I've loved almost everything about the program. I've become a much better writer since my first year. The flow of the classes and the shared learning style was very different than anything I encountered in my undergrad. Having the classes split between lecture and seminar was a learning curve at first, but one I gained great value from and one I still look forward to. The discussions in seminar are deep, thought provoking, and respectful. And my cohorts are some of the most intelligent and hardworking people I know.

For my thesis… I'm really not sure yet. As a part time student on the three year track, thesis work doesn't start until the last year. While in my second year, I'm taking full advantage of electives and internships to develop some ideas and hopefully a thesis question.

A word of advice for incoming students: take advantage of every opportunity you can that MES offers! It's so much harder to find jobs, internships, conferences, etc. when you don't have a community to help you. I was offered an amazing opportunity through Schmidt Ocean Institute where I was able to live aboard a research vessel while the ship was mapping seamounts off the pacific coast of North America. I found the internship through the jobs page that the MES staff puts together each week. I would have never known about it otherwise! I work in a science industry for the state, and have for several years, and I've had more success networking because of MES than I have in my job.