STEMinist Profile: Melissa Marquez, Founder of The Fins United Initiative

Melissa Marquez


The Fins United Initiative (

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
There is nowhere I would rather be than making observations outside in nature. For me, the ocean holds my curiosity and passion. I was born with an extreme fascination for misunderstood predators and sharks are the most misunderstood predator of them all.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
That’s a tough one! I have worked on a multitude of Chondrichthyan (shark, skate, ray, and chimaera) projects around the world. Science has allowed me to travel around the world and for that, I am grateful and humbled.

I think my most enjoyable project has been where I worked with animals not in my area of expertise: rehabilitating manatees and otters in Belize. I met some amazing people from all corners of the globe, and it pushed me both physically and mentally like no other field work. These animals are dear to my heart and I never thought I would get to work with them, so I was very excited to get the chance to!

Role models and heroes:
I have so many people I look up to and have helped shape my outlook on life and my career. However, the three that have been constants since I was little are David Attenborough, Eugenie Clark and Sylvia Earle, who are all big role models and heroes for me.

Why do you loving working in STEM?
I hope I am always a student– always learning. And my job allows me to learn new things EVERY DAY. It’s the coolest thing.

I also get to meet people from all backgrounds who bring such unique POVs. I love seeing things from their angle and challenging my viewpoints.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Just follow your instincts – you can never please everyone. Know your worth.

Favorite website or app:
I love the twitter community!

Twitter: @mcmsharksxx

Site: [email protected]

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