Nathan Olson

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Undergraduate Student and Research Assistant
High School Attended
McQuaid Jesuit High School, Rochester, NY
College Attended
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Job Description:

I utilize molecular based techniques to study the ecology of microorganism associated with reef building corals.

Interest in Field:

I think it was all my trips to the New England Aquarium as a little kid. Since as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with coral reefs and the corals that are the foundation of these magnificent ecosystems.

How did you get there?

I first volunteered in Dr. Muir’s molecular lab at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. From there I had two REU internships working in Dr. Takabayashi’s marine molecular lab also at the Hilo. Since then I have been fortunate enough to be still working in her.

Necessary Qualifications:

The main qualification is an intense interest in molecular and microbiology. If this interest is missing its a lot of really hard and boring work. Take a class in either of these subjects, you will either be sitting on the edge of your seat or staring at the clock.

Rewards of Work:

The ability to be able to discover something new about a system, in my case coral microbial ecology is one of the most rewarding accomplishments I have ever had in my life.

Relevant Work Experience:

  • Summer 2005 Volunteer Dr. Muir molecular lab
  • Summer 2006- Spring 2007 REU internship Dr. Takabayashi's marine molecular lab
  • Summer 2007 ASM undergraduate research fellow Dr. Takabayashi
  • Summer 2007 Participant in the Edwin S. Pauley Workshop on coral stress biology

Typical Day:

Lots of pipetting and computer work, and occasionally I get to go scuba diving to collect coral for my projects.

Words of Wisdom :

You wish you knew...:

I wish I would have known how writing intensive this work is, and therefore would have worked harder on my underclassman writing assignments. You wish you were told...:

The works not hard as long as you appreciate the pay offs.

Final Comments / Advice:

There are very few opportunities in the job world to do something that is helpful to something bigger then yourself, and environmental careers are a majority of them.