A summer marine biologist

Posted on 16. Feb, 2018 by in Christian school in Santa Monica, summer internships

aquarium-summer-internshipsBy Rudee Becerra —

Summer didn’t lose her summer.

No, Summer Liampetchakul, an LCA junior, didn’t miss out on lounging on the beach and waking up at noon after watching videos all night.

Instead, twice a week for five hours a day she worked a job — with NO PAY. And she liked it.

marine-biology-internshipsThat’s because Summer nabbed one of the few internships available to high school students to act as docents in the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. She answered questions of tourists at the different exhibits and kept the crowds in order. It was just the type of exposure to marine biology she wanted because she’s mulling a career with water creatures.

“It was my most memorable summer vacation so far,” Summer said. “I don’t see it as losing my summer because I look at as meeting so many friends.”

ChristiansDisneylandSummer is an uplifting soul. She came to Lighthouse from a big public school, whose “orchestra was bigger than Lighthouse.” Entering her freshman year at Lighthouse Christian Academy, she was nervous because she only knew one person. But she’s very amiable and made friends quickly.

The nerves flared again when she applied for the internship because she had to pass a group interview — her first such.

Once she was accepted, she received a crash course on marine biology called “Critter College” at the aquarium, which is open to the public and costs $30 for adults and $18 for kids under 11. She was schooled in 8-hour days in the complexities of ocean organisms, habitats and endangered species.

Once graduated from Critter College, she and her fellow docents would be stationed at the different displays: shark lagoon, lorikeets, horeshoe crabs, seals, stingrays, tropical reef, Baja California. They rotated stations after 30 minutes.

“I wanted to explore the possibilities of working at an aquarium,” Summer said. “I wanted to see about the career of marine animal rescue and rehabilitation.”

aquarium-of-pacific-internshipShe learned the puffins can “hold an outrageous number of fish in their mouths” and moon jellies get fed to the other jellyfish.

She experienced “customer horror stories:” one man grabbed a leopard shark in the touching pool and pulled it out of the water. When instructed to return it to the water, he retorted: “Why? It might drown.”

She wishes she could’ve gotten involved in animal rescue and rehabilitation and might choose that as a career.

“Ever since I was little I grew up around the ocean and the pool and I love water. I’ve always had a place in my heart for marine animals.”


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