Carter Esch was born and raised in Norfolk, Va., and spent most of her free time as a child in, on, or near the water. At 12 she began to pursue volunteer opportunities in marine biology, beginning as a docent at the Virginia Aquarium. From that point on, her compass bearing was set. She studied marine biology as an undergraduate and master’s degree student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and then headed north to pursue a Ph.D. through the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. Somehow, her original intention to study marine mammals at low latitudes (i.e., warm places) gave way to spending months doing fieldwork in places where it snows in the summer! Her interests outside of research are largely focused on her dog, Bodie. Don’t ask her about him unless you are prepared to see every picture she has ever taken of him and hear endless anecdotes of his adventures and misadventures. Her mentor for this article was Frank Pope, Ocean Correspondent for The Times newspaper in London.
(Photo by C.T. Harry)