FIN tastic Team Interviews: Meet Enie Hensel
We are celebrating our 5 year anniversary throughout November with our Meet the Team blogs. Today we share ambassador Enie Hensel's shark story.
1. How long have you been involved with Sharks4Kids?
I have been involved with Sharks4Kids since March 2016 when I hosted Jillian Morris Brake and Duncan Brake for a three day ‘Sharks4Kids tour’ in the Abacos, The Bahamas. We were able to visit five schools reaching students from ages 3 – 18 yrs old. Since then I have continued visiting schools in both Abaco as well as schools near Raleigh, NC. I also do about 1-2 online presentations each month.
2. What has been a highlight moment while working with Sharks4Kids?
I have really enjoyed breaking the standard for who can be a ‘scientist’ and what I do as a scientist. When I visit classrooms, I see some kids get so excited at the possibility that they (1) can be a scientist too – girls realizing “it isn’t just for boys” AND (2) being a scientist doesn’t always mean that you are confined to a sterile lab environment with a lab coat – you can also be salty, caked in mud up to your knees in a tidal creek working on sharks!
3. What made you interested in sharks?
Sharks just simply amaze me. They are these enormous animals that move with grace and fluidity through the water. They are also very successful top predators that have been around for centuries and still thrive.
4. Favorite shark experience
This is such a tough one. I have had the opportunity to assist on shark monitoring research projects, where we typically will catch sharks through a number of different non-lethal methods and safely collect data such as length and weight; all of those have been exciting of course. I suppose my favorite shark experience is when I see juvenile sharks in shallow backreef systems like mangrove flats. Once I saw a 3 foot nurse shark with its head completely buried in the muck trying to catch its prey (a crab maybe), and the rest of its body was just wiggling about trying to dig deeper. The shark had no clue I was right next to it and it was such a unique and comical event to observe.
5. What do you look forward to in the future with Sharks4kids?
I look forward to continuing my outreach with grade school kids through S4Ks presentations no matter where my next job may take me. One of the great things about S4Ks is that the platform for online presentations is already running smoothly, allowing me to connect and share my research with others across the globe. Additionally, I will encourage my future mentees to seek out guest presentations with Sharks4Kids for outreach experience.