A Marine Educator’s Letter to her Young Self with Kaitlin Noyes

Kaitlin Noyes

Director of Ocean Academy

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
St. George's, Bermuda

A Marine Educator’s Letter to her Young Self

Dear Kaitlin,

Kaitlin with a burfish, Chilomycterus schoepf, as a Teacher at Sea in 2012.

Be brave. Do not be grossed out by dissecting the frog in science class when you secretly think, that’s amazing!

There are going to be days ahead that are challenging. There are going to be nights you wake up at 4 in the morning to continue to study for Organic Chemistry and there are going to be days that you wonder how on earth you decided you wanted to be a marine biologist. It will all be worth it. There are also going to be people in your life that tell you that it can’t be done; don’t listen.

Be passionate. When you aren’t good at something, and you are challenged, don’t get discouraged. Let your passion shine through. Admit to teachers that you don’t understand, challenge them to find a way that you see it correctly. If you see grading that’s unfair, challenge it! They are put in place to aid you in your career and personal goals; let them be your resource. There may be things like Calculus that you may not be passionate about. See them as a stepping-stone to where you want to be. Understand that there is a difference between being good at something and being passionate about it. Aim for both.

Kaitlin showing some of her younger students the plankton that they caught in the "cod end" of the net

Kaitlin showing some of her younger students the plankton that they caught in the "cod end" of the net

Be opportunistic. Don’t be afraid to volunteer and work for free. Not only does it get you experience, it affords you the chance to show your talent, passion and bravery. Make the most of every opportunity you are given.

Be strong. Most intern positions from high school right on through will involve lifting things! Train to lift tanks, build things, and design. If you don’t know how, ask.

Be comfortable. Your own skin will not be a place you always want to be. Persevere in it, wrap yourself up in it, and embrace that everyone has talent for different things. If you love it, accept your mission!

Be open-minded. Marine science is a lot more than swimming with dolphins. Learn to ask questions about the world around you and understand that NO questions are silly ones.

Kaitlin supports local and international groups on snorkeling expeditions

Be creative. There is always a way to incorporate your talents. You don’t always have to “do” science in the typical way. You can teach it, talk it, pipette it, dive it, write it and many, many others. Explore and try to use as many of your talents as you can.

Be versatile. Learn a lot of different skills and take advantage of workshops and electives. Learning from your grandmother how to knit can be very useful for something in your career you could never imagine!

Most importantly, TAKE RISKS. As you get older you will try your best to take fewer of these, to weigh harder and to think more. As you grow, be open to the experiences that will make you not only a better scientist but also a well rounded woman.


Kaitlin Marie Baird M.A.

As Director of Ocean Academy, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences’ suite of five local education programs, Kaitlin envisions what the Academy can achieve and works to ensure that the highest standards of education are met. Ocean Academy programs encourage Bermudian students aged 8 to 22 and educators across the island to draw on the natural environment and the world-class scientific research conducted at BIOS. Kaitlin makes certain that BIOS provides comprehensive and innovative education programs that inspire, empower and support students as they strive toward careers in the sciences. Kaitlin also spearheads the building and maintenance of relationships with schools, professional associations and non-profit organizations locally and internationally. In addition, she is actively involved in course and curriculum development for current and new international visiting groups and educator workshops.

Before joining the BIOS team in 2010, Kaitlin was a coordinator and instructor for the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) at Columbia University. Kaitlin received her Master’s in Conservation Biology in 2008 from Columbia, where she remains on certificate faculty. Kaitlin holds a BSc. (Hons) in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University (’06).

Connect with Kaitlin: