Alumni: making us proud
Integrative Biology alumna Megan Cook’s (’09) boundless enthusiasm for the ocean has taken her far: From researching coral reef ecosystems and coastal oceans to promoting ocean literacy as a diver, submarine pilot and filmmaker.
After graduating magna cum laude with degrees in biology and chemistry with a marine biologyoption, Cook plunged into her career as an ocean ambassador working to bridge the areas of science, communication, industry and exploration.
“I became a talented scientist while learning at OSU, but more importantly I learned there were no bounds to the global reach my work could have,” says Cook.
“Traveling in international scholar exchange, diving into a field research team and being mentored in a community of inspiring peers and exceptional leaders gave me great confidence that my contributions could, should and would be impactful.”
Currently the Community STEM Program Coordinator at the Ocean Exploration Trust, Cook works to explore parts of the planet never before seen by humans: The 95% of the ocean remaining unexplored. Using the Exploration Vessel Nautilus and a pair of car-sized robots called remotely operated vehicles, she live broadcasts 24/7 exploration using video and photography to bring the excitement of marine science and engineering to the public.
A self-described “ocean extrovert,” Cook’s role as an emerging ocean leader was recognized with the prestigious Our World—Underwater Scholarship as North America’s Rolex Scholar, an honor which enabled her to travel and train under the tutelage of ocean experts globally. Cook’s work, study, and storytelling have taken her across the oceans of Antarctica, Australia, Africa, Europe and South America. Check out her blog as one of the nation’s oceans storytellers.
Cook is a member of The Explorer’s Club, an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. The organization promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. Cook spends much of her time speaking nationally to inspire the next generation of STEM students.
At Oregon State, Cook was mentored by Dr. Mark Hixon and conducted research dives in Australia and the Bahamas to study the effects of lionfish invasion on coral reefs. She rowed for the NCAA crew team, played for the Equestrian Polo team, edited the undergraduate research journal The Catalyst and studied abroad in two programs.
Cook was raised in Boise, Idaho, more than 500 miles from the nearest ocean.