Karly Miller, Ambassadorial Scholar Alumna from Lexington Rotary Club who spent a year in Lima, Peru in 2011, entered her second year of graduate study at the University of California, Santa Barbara this fall. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Marine Science, building on the marine science degree that she earned from USC in 2009. Her graduate research spans the gap between natural and social sciences, examining various social and ecological factors that affect patterns of resource use and conservation in the coastal zone. Her interest is in finding ways to address conservation and development goals by viewing them as linked priorities (you cannot have one without the other).
This research allows Ms. Miller to pursue both her love of the ocean and her passion for people. When asked about why she is going to graduate school she explained: “I grew up loving the ocean, and as I realized how much it was being changed by human activity, I dedicated myself to marine conservation. But as I studied, I became frustrated by how often conservation efforts were in direct conflict with human-use. My year in Peru helped me see how much people all over the world depend on the oceans. I realized that in order to have a sustainable future, we need to find ways that conservation and development can be combined. Its not easy, but it’s incredibly important.”
While Karly still has years of school ahead of her, she hopes to complete her degree and become a professor. This would allow her to continue looking for answers through her research, and also to teach and mentor university students with passions of their own. Shortly after moving to Santa Barbara, Karly located the nearest Rotary and offered to talk about her experiences with Rotary in South Carolina and Peru. She continues to be in touch with them and says, “Its wonderful, every time I go to a Rotary meeting it feels a little bit like home. I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had thanks to Rotary, and for all the friendly faces that greet me whenever and wherever I show up.”