Q & A with Allie Brown

Why did you decide to pursue a Master of Marine Affairs?

I came to SMEA after studying at Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan island for a summer after my undergraduate studies. I wanted to gain a bit more marine experience after getting a degree in wildlife ecology which focused on terrestrial vertebrates. I both heard about SMEA there and realized there that I was not super interested in lab work and very interested how to create change and in how humans get excited about the ocean. Marine affairs seemed a perfect place to start.

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

I came to UW because I decided that if I was going to go to grad school and make connections I would rather do it in a place I could see myself living after school. I was desperate to get back to the Pacific Northwest after living in Wisconsin for a while and I knew that UW was a large school with lots of opportunities. SMEA seemed very interdisciplinary which fit my undecidedness about a specific future career.

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 writing a thesis where I am describing and defining marine conservation photography as a focus within conservation photography. I am interviewing photographers and diving deep into the field of communications. I’m writing this thesis in the hopes of raising awareness of those photographers who focus on ocean issues because, speaking from personal experience, we primarily see terrestrial issues shown in photos and many of those issues are strongly affected by the ocean. I would like to help make marine conservation photography a specific arena people want to join.

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

My favorite course was Ryan Kelly’s marine science class. I appreciated the assignments that allowed us to focus on something we were specifically interested in and get creative and artistic in our presentation of those topics.

What do you like most about SMEA?

Definitely the people. I have made some friends at SMEA that I know I will have the rest of my life. I also was able to find an awesome advisor who has wholeheartedly supported my working on something a little different from the average SMEA thesis.

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

I love Seattle, I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest and it’s been great to get back and be so near to the mountains and Sound. In my spare time, I like to get outside as much as I can locally and not so locally and practice photography. I share a lot of photos from around Seattle and the world on Instagram @alliedphotoz. I also enjoy sailing on Lake Union and the Sound, hiking, cuddling with my cat, and simply exploring Seattle.

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

I have two dream jobs, one would be marine conservation photographer and the other would be a communications director at a company that focuses on marine education, conservation, and/or rehabilitation. Preferably both of those would overlap to be one job! I want to do creative work for a purpose.

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

I really love nudibranchs because of the beautiful variation in appearance and the amazing name. At the same time manatees are really really really awesome. Like really awesome. And because I can’t even choose just two, my third favorite are members of the ctenophora phyla because they are see through, have a rainbow effect that shows up when their cilia move, are the largest animal that moves with cilia, and they are squishy.