Mary's Open Road


Marine Sciences Professor
Orange Coast College

“We all have our weaknesses and we all have our strengths. [Being successful] is about the checks and balances.”


Science Environment & Nature


Goals Support & Encouragement Perseverance Doubt Success Choices Determination


Teaching / Mentoring


  • Her parents both worked in the sciences—says she fell in love with science at a young age and grew up with a strong interest in pursuing it as a career.
  • Attended the University of California, Irvine, where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus in ecology.
  • Admits that she was only one of a few biology majors at that time that were not on a pre-med track, which initially made her feel isolated.
  • Decided to participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)—says getting involved helped her realize the benefits of pursuing a career in scientific research.
  • She worked in the atmospheric chemistry lab, where she conducted research on the environment and pollutants.
  • Attended graduate school at California State University, Long Beach, where she continued to study biology and worked as a teacher’s assistant.
  • Was inspired to apply her earlier research in some way to the study of animals, so she began measuring various environmental pollutants that can be found in marine animals like seals and sharks.
  • After graduating with her master’s degree, she began teaching marine science and ecology at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA.

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