Meagan Jones, PhD CandidateEnvironmental Studies PhD Program
Not Your Average Commuter:
Marine Researcher Travels from Hawaii to New Hampshire Five Times a Year
Many doctoral students like AUNE's intensive, weekends-only course schedule because they can live hundreds of miles away and still take the monthly classes. Meagan Jones may have the most impressive commute of this road-warrior cohort, traveling from Hawaii to Keene about five times a year to attend class and meet with her advisor.
Meagan has lived in Maui for the past twelve years, researching the behavior of marine mammals such as dolphins and humpback whales, and sharing her knowledge through marine education programs that she has developed. Her efforts earned her an award from the National Marine Educator's Association in 1997. Her research into humpback whale populations has spanned the globe from Alaska to Australia and Canada to Africa. Her findings appear in peer-reviewed journals, television documentaries, and online education projects.
In 2001 Meagan earned a Switzer Fellowship to begin her doctoral studies at the Graduate School, and launched Whale Trust, a nonprofit environmental education organization focused on marine science and conservation issues. Meagan serves as the organization's executive director, but takes time out in the winter to research the behavior of female humpbacks during breeding season for her dissertation.
Meagan notes that faculty encourage students to pursue research of interest to them, not research that furthers the interests of faculty members. After completing her doctorate, Meagan plans to develop a marine research and education facility on Maui for scientists, educators, and policymakers from around the Pacific. “I love doing the science, but it's important that we share what we know with others.”