Q & A with Zelin Chen

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

My 4-year undergraduate training in marine resource and environment planted me with a great interest in this field. With passion to explore the field of marine conservation and fishery management further, I spent my time working in environmental NGO. The working experience in NGO determined my interest in engaging in this field, but I felt I wanted to have a more specialized and systematic understanding in my work. Thus, I chose to pursue the Master of Marine Affairs to receive further education.

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

The SMEA is a lovely community to me as it has such a diverse background of faculty and classmates that it triggers a bit of brainstorming. It is a fascinating experience to learn about what people from other disciplines of marine science think about one issue, which is often a great help in shaping your own perspective. While there are rich resources for SMEA graduates to get employed in government agencies, research institution, environmental NGOs and so on, it allows me to pursue higher education as a PhD student. The flexibility in SMEA gives me a relatively free atmosphere to think about my future pathway.

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 determine to work in a thesis project, focusing on China’s quota-based fishery management program in coastal swimming crab resource. The value of this topic lies in not only its close connection with what I learned in SMEA such as policy research, social analysis in fishery system and stakeholder engagement, but also helps me gain knowledge with a deep understanding of how catch share program works in the United States as well as other fisheries developed countries in the world.

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

The SMEA 550B in Autumn Quarter with Prof. Edward Allison is my favorite class! As an international student, it is my first time to be in Seattle. The class contains one field trip every week with marine-related topic. We visited waterfront facilities to think about human-water relationship and how the intense land use affects some other people’s interest. We visited Duwamish Tribe to witness why environmental issue concerns equality to minority. We visited Nature Conservancy to explore what the current NGO work. All of these experiences teach students by engaging them in the real world. Together with sufficient background reading, we have the chance to know much deeper about marine affairs and Seattle.

What do you like most about SMEA?

Of course it would be my cohorts in SMEA! I am so glad to join this community and hang around with them. Many of my wonderful memories comes with the disorientations dancing party with my classmates, ecosystem-based management presentation preparation with my teammates, stakeholder phone calling with my beaver teammates, and so on. Even though I may forget everything I learned in SMEA, I will not forget about the best time playing with you guys in Seattle.

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

Seattle is an open and lively city. It has plenty of tourist attractions and delicious international restaurants. I like to explore museums, downtown Pike Markets and taste different flavors of food in my spare time. Also, Seattle has a great atmosphere about outdoors activities. I also like hiking, running and walking my Huskies in the city parks.

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

I am thinking of applying for a PhD after SMEA graduation, and ultimately my job would be a researcher in the university. I like to be in charge of my own schedule and academic work. The research in the university is a good platform for me to freely explore new fields and work with students.

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

My favorite form of marine life is dolphin. It is a high intelligent creature with humanized characteristics. It is hard to believe this creature is willing to save drown people! I also like how it swims with its fellows and the way it catches its prey.