Which community college are you currently attending?
Oregon Coast Community College
Which program are you pursuing and what about the subject intrigues you most?
I’m in the Aquarium Science Program, and one of the most intriguing parts of aquarist work is realizing how much we still don’t know about aquatic animals. I’m so excited to learn more here in the program and even more when I graduate and get to work in public aquariums.
What are your education and career aspirations?
After the AQS program and working part-time as an aquarist, I plan to get my bachelor’s in a marine science education degree and a possible master’s in non-profit organizations. Long term, I am really looking forward to joining the education department of an aquarium or working on a design team to create new exhibits for aquariums.
What is a fun fact about you that few people know?
I used to raise pigeons! I was in 4-H for eight years and competitively showed pigeons. Now, I have one very spoiled house pigeon named Bubbles, appropriately named as his favorite hobby is taking baths.
What is your favorite book/movie/song and why?
I think my forever favorite movie will be Moana. The songs are fantastic, the plot makes me ugly cry and that funky little chicken has my heart.
What is your current favorite streaming binge and why?
I recently started watching The Expanse with my dad. The special effects are fantastic, although I think my favorite thing about watching the show is spending time with my dad.
In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing?
I’ve been (trying) to get my projects done super early to give myself more free time. I’ve started reading more, spending way too much time researching skincare, and have weekly movie dates with my mom. Audiobooks are my favorite, especially because I can actively read while completing work. When you take care of multiple large fish tanks, auditory stimulation is needed to get through all of that scrubbing.
How are you practicing self-care during this difficult time?
I’ve been spending so much of my time trying out new recipes and learning how to cook my favorite takeout dishes at home. After a particularly stressful week, you can usually find me baking cookies, painting or re-arranging my goldfish tanks at home.
How are you adjusting to remote life and what are your tips to stay motivated?
I am so lucky to be in a small science program that has a large portion of in-person work. On my completely online days, I struggle with actually sitting down to start projects. I’ve found the Todoist app to be extremely helpful in keeping track of my assignments, and that making a schedule for the day (with lots of breaks!) helps me stay motivated.
As a Point Community College Scholarship Recipient, what is your message to other LGBTQ+ students?
I was so nervous coming out to my fellow students in my program. I had a fear that I would be judged for something I couldn’t control. Instead, some of my closest friends are also members of the LGBTQ+ community, and others are happy to support us. Most of all, I realized that my peers care way more about my work ethic and the passion I put into school than they ever would about my sexuality. All I can do is strive to be a great student, colleague, and aquarist, and my queerness is just along for the ride.
This post’s responses were submitted by Point Community College Scholarship Recipient Ava Owens (She/Her/Hers).
Owens is currently pursuing a degree in Aquarium Science at Oregon Coast Community College. Read more about Ava here.