Q & A with Jimmy Kralj

Jimmy KraljWhy did you decide to pursue a Master of Marine Affairs?

All throughout high school and college I was very focused on the hard sciences. I majored in microbiology and for a while I wanted to become a professor and work in research. During an internship with Oregon Sea Grant, I had the chance to listen to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the former director of NOAA, speak about her time in Washington D.C. She talked about her interactions with members of congress, and the president and spoke about the need of involving scientists in the political process. This inspired me to take my knowledge of science and apply it to the policy realm. Through the Master of Marine Affairs, I’m able to continue developing my scientific skills and also learn how to apply them in a meaningful way.

Why did you decide to come to UW’s SMEA for graduate school?

When I was applying to graduate school I reached out to a lot of professors across the country. One of them happened to be Ryan Kelly; I was really drawn to his research as it aligned perfectly with my interests. SMEA allowed me the opportunity to keep doing scientific research and to simultaneously explore the human dimensions side of things as well.

Are you doing a thesis or capstone project? If thesis, what are you writing your thesis about and why? If capstone, what is the project about?

I am doing a thesis, and I’ll be looking at how oyster aquaculture impacts eelgrass communities using environmental DNA. There is a lot of uncertainty about how oyster aquaculture impacts eelgrass communities and developing a better understanding of that has big implications for business as well as environmental management.

What has been your favorite class at UW so far? Why?

My favorite class has been an elective I took called Conflict Management. The class taught us a lot of skills about how to manage and deal with conflicts surrounding natural resources. As part of the class we had to go to a public meeting in Seattle to experience conflict first hand, which was a lot of fun and a really interesting way to learn. That being, said all the classes I have taken so far have been wonderful and have taught me so much.

What do you like most about SMEA?

In SMEA I’ve develop strong relationships with my professors and my peers; there is a great sense of community, which I really enjoy. Plus, being at the University of Washington provides opportunities to access so many different departments, professors, views, and an amazing variety of classes that have really enhanced my SMEA experience.

What’s it like to live in Seattle? What do you do in your spare time?

Living in Seattle is an absolute dream! It’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to and has such a unique culture. I am a huge food lover and Seattle has one of the best food scenes in the country, so exploring new restaurants and bars is one of my favorite things to do.

If you could design your ultimate job after graduating, what would it be and why?

It would definitely be as some sort of environmental consultant. I would love to be able to take the research others have done, process it, and present it to businesses or stakeholders and make recommendations on the best course of action they should follow for environmental issues.

What is your favorite form of marine life, and why?

I would have to say a squid. Much like myself, they have very long limbs and a nearly non-existent torso so I can relate to the proportional awkwardness.