Cris Wagner has always wanted to be in an education related career. She earned her B.A. and Masters in Unified Education, with a specialization in math/science at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). She has worked in the Education Departments of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Sea World, IGFA, as well as been a classroom teacher in Orange, Martin, Santa Rosa, and Saint Lucie Counties. Before moving to the Panhandle of Florida, she was the Director of Education and Exhibits at Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center in Stuart, FL. Cris is aboard the R/V Endeavour representing the students and faculty of the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station. She is extremely excited to learn from and work with these renowned scientists in the field of oceanography and geochemistry, and hopes to bridge the curriculum between biology and oceanography for the students back on dry land.
A: I have always had a love for the ocean. Growing up in South Florida, and being the daughter of a family of fishermen, got me started on the water at an early age. I would have to say my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Gaus, really turned my focus to conservation in the marine world. We went to Sea Base in the Florida Keys, and I was hooked!
Q: What classes did you choose to take in HS? What were your majors in undergrad/grad school? Was there a favorite, least favorite?
A: I had some fantastic opportunities in high school, and took advantage of them. I tried to balance out AP Bio and honors classes with art and journalism. I also took Marine Bio during the summer…that was the only time it was offered! However, being involved in those courses and environmental clubs afforded me the opportunity to attend the C.I.T.E.S. conference when it was held at the Broward County Convention Center, truly an eye opener. In college, my absolute favorite course was Science in Informal Settings, instructed by Dr. Linda Jones. We learned about effective ways to convey messages of conservation to students, while learning how to integrate multiple subjects into activities. This course helped me learn what was effective in communicating conservation issues and facts to both students and adults, while making it a fun experience!
Q: What bit of advice can you offer to our future scientists and explorers following on this blog?
A: Keep as many doors open as you can! You never know what opportunities may arise in the future. I could never have predicted I would be out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico learning about sediments in the hypoxic zone a year ago, and I am excited to see where passion and enthusiasm for new experiences will take me next!