Scripps Student Spotlight: Gene DePuy

Master of Advanced Studies student focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation

Gene DePuy attends Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego as a student in the Master of Advanced Studies program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (MAS MBC). Before arriving in San Diego, they earned a magna cum laude bachelor's of science at Portland State University, with a dual major in political science in the Honors College, and a dual minor in international studies and sustainability. DePuy currently studies alongside Scripps Professor Isabel Rivera-Collazo in the Human Ecology Lab.

explorations now: Why did you choose to attend Scripps?

Gene DePuy: As someone with diverse work experiences and a passion for marine protection, I chose to attend Scripps because it was exciting to attend a school at the forefront of research, and the MAS program with its interdisciplinary nature was especially attractive.

en: What are you researching at Scripps?

GD: I am a student in the MAS MBC program. I'm interested in the field of climate change adaptation and mitigation, and specifically I focus on how researchers and institutions can best serve the needs of those most impacted by climate change effects. My capstone project was to build a training for geoscientists on doing cooperative research for climate resilience.

en: How did you become interested in science and your field of study?

GD: I've been interested in marine biology since I was a child, looking for whales off the coast. As an adult, I am interested in environmental politics and sustainability, and I think the climate crisis is a multifaceted issue that requires engagement from all fields of study and all walks of life. Building resilience and finding successful adaptation measures is something we can do most effectively if we work together.

en: What’s life like as a Scripps student? Describe a typical day.

GD: Summer courses are taking place on the main campus at UC San Diego, but my cohort still finds plenty of time to spend at the beach! I've had the opportunity to meet many fantastic scientists, policy experts, and other specialists.

en: What’s the most exciting thing about your work (in the field or in the lab)?

GD: The most exciting things about my work are the people I get to meet, and the visions and projects underway to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change. There is so much incredible work being done around Scripps and UC San Diego, and I'm very lucky to have met so many of our community partners.

en: Are there any role models or mentors who have helped you along the way?

GD: Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo and Dr. Sarah Aarons of Scripps, and Paul Watson of the Global ARC are all incredibly inspiring individuals who have helped me in both my research and personal growth over the past year.

en: What are some of the challenges you face as a student?

GD: As a transgender student, I face the challenges of uninformed faculty, staff, students, and guest lecturers who marginalize my voice, my experience, and my identity. Finding a community at Scripps has not been easy. Implementing a mandatory diversity and inclusion training for faculty is critical. In my experience, most people at Scripps are willing to learn, but they don't know how and commit micro (and macro) aggressions along the way.

en: What are your plans post-Scripps?

GD: I have always enjoyed teaching at the community college level, and would like to someday return to that. I am also considering pursuing a PhD, and want to remain in the world of climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as continue to work for social justice and social equity for marginalized populations.

Find Gene on Twitter at @DePuyGenevie.

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