My name is Lindsey and I am a transfer student from San Diego. I am a student employee at NOAA through the Marine Option Program at UH Manoa, as a sea turtle stranding responder.
The impact from COVID-19 completely caught me off guard, and greatly affected my job and financial situation. As a responder, I am called by the public to respond to injured, sick, and dead sea turtles at our local beaches, and to injured sea turtles flown in from outer islands. We often have to place turtles in our rehabilitation tanks and tend to them multiple times a day administering medical treatments and feedings.
Due to quarantine laws we were unable to find a solution that allowed us to respond to turtles and still follow the laws. Following this, we had to stop accepting sick and injured sea turtles into our rehabilitation facility.
I am a graduating senior this semester and taking one last class over summer which I planned to pay for out of pocket. COVID-19 has completely cut out my tasks at work leaving me with no income for my summer school tuition. The next challenge I am facing is finding a job in my field of interest. NOAA deploys field teams into the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument for Summer research. However due to the circumstances they delayed the cruise and now we have an abundant amount of workers and not as many tasks since we are relying on work that can be completed from our home computers. This situation is making it extremely difficult to find a job after I finish school.
The help from UH Urgent Student Relief Fund made a difference and I was relieved of a lot of stress off my shoulders. The award helped me pay my rent and allowed me to save more money from my remaining paychecks for future expenses when I may not have an income.
I am still actively looking for opportunities and will not let this situation set me back if I do not have to. I am hoping to return to Rose Atoll in American Samoa to continue nesting green sea turtle research with NOAA.
Thank you for helping us students out in any way possible through this hardship!