Malia's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Hawaii Roadtrip

MALIA CHOW, PH.D.

Sanctuary Superintendent
NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

“More than ever, the problems that need to be solved now have to be done with a whole new way of thinking...I'm very optimistic about human ingenuity and the ability to use science to tackle some really important problems.”

INTERESTS:

Science Environment & Nature

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Goals Passion Community Transitions Choices Opportunity Support & Encouragement Societal Pressures Struggle

FOUNDATION:

Problem Solving

BIOGRAPHY:

  • She grew up in the Hawaiian Islands, but she left to go to college.
  • She went to college at the University of Washington and got a degree in biology; she thought she wanted to be a doctor.
  • When she applied to medical schools, counselors looked at all the research she’d done and said, “Why don’t you pursue that?”
  • She realized they were right; she truly loved doing biological research, so she kept going after it.
  • Earned her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania, then did a few postdoctoral fellowships.
  • She was studying mammalian systems, but she knew if she wanted to get back to the islands, she had to study marine biology.
  • She was brought back to Hawaii to set up a research lab studying fish connectivity throughout the islands.
  • After years of doing research, she realized to be effective, she had to go into policy; now she has a foot in both worlds.

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