I attended OCC's Professional Mariner program to obtain my Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping, and I found that the program not only offered that certification but also so much more that ended up being really helpful in my career.
After leaving OCC, I sailed on some of the most incredible yachts around the Caribbean and Mexico. I've also worked as a divemaster and snuba instructor, which eventually led me to move to Hawaii. It was while working on a boat in Hawaii that I first saw the coral reef depleting right before my eyes, with a major bleaching occurring in 2015.
That inspired me to make my own sunscreen – something natural that wouldn't further damage the reef – as a hobby, and my neighbors and friends started to request that I make it for them. Fast forward a couple years, and Raw Love Sunscreen is in full production, FDA approved, and I have two employees.
One of my biggest honors was when the instructors who run OCC's Professional Mariner program called me to ask if they could carry my product at their facility. As a student, those same instructors showed me all the different directions I could go in with the education I was receiving, so it definitely feels like I've come full circle.
Eventually, I'd like to participate in more conservation projects, possibly working on a research vessel. I've always felt like I'm kind of a siren of the sea, but instead of taking ships down, I want to use that voice to help the ocean thrive.