FIN tastic Team Interviews- Meet Jessica Woodend
In honor of our 5 year anniversary, we are sharing shark stories from our team! Our ambassadors are doing amazing work around the world and we are excited to share some fun facts about them!
Today meet New England Outreach Director Jessica Woodend.
1. How long have you been involved with Sharks4Kids?
I have been involved with Sharks4Kids since the spring of 2017.
2. What has been a highlight moment while working with Sharks4Kids?
A highlight moment for me so far was when some of us New England Ambassadors were able to attend a Women in Science event at Mystic Aquarium. We were able to talk with lots of people, and it was so encouraging to see so many young girls interested in shark science! I also was able to bring my niece along and it was an amazing experience to share with her.
3. What made you interested in sharks?
I have always been fascinated by the ocean, even growing up in Michigan far from the ocean. Being a wildlife educator, I tend to gravitate towards being a champion for the animals that are most misunderstood. I was drawn to sharks, although I had never met one in the wild. On my 30th birthday I decided I couldn't wait any longer, so I had my first dive in Florida with sharks. It changed my life.
4. Favorite shark experience
My favorite shark experience was on my 30th birthday trip. I had a bad cold and had only been able to complete one dive. During the next one I was so congested that I wasn't able to clear my ears and had to stay back on the boat while others went diving. I was feeling like I was going to miss out on so much. I decided to snorkel around on my own, and ended up sharing the reef with a Caribbean Reef shark. Just me and that shark, it was like nothing else was in the water but the two of us. After watching it for what felt like a long time, the divers returned and it turns out that missing that dive allowed me to have an experience I will never forget. This last summer I visited the whale sharks in Mexico and they were breathtaking, but that's a whole other story.
5. What do you look forward to in the future with Sharks4kids?
I am really looking forward to continuing to spread Sharks4Kids all over Maine and the East Coast. I am also looking forward to the opportunity to attend Shark4Kids events that allow me to connect with fellow ambassadors and the whole shark crew! I'm just having such a great time with this organization. :