Karin Lemkau grew up in the landlocked village of Yellow Springs, Ohio. She discovered her love of the ocean as a child, spending months at sea traveling around the world on a floating university. After an inspirational encounter in college working with sea turtles, she sought to combine the ocean world with her interest in organic chemistry. In 2004 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wesleyan University and was a Summer Student Fellow at WHOI. She worked as staff chemist and volunteer (with sea turtles) at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., before joining the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in 2006, working with her Ph.D. advisor Chris Reddy. She has completed two marathons (Cincinnati and Philadelphia) and is looking forward to her next one. When not scouring shorelines in search of oil, she enjoys running, doing projects around the house, and doting on her puppy. Her mentor for this article was Peter Lord, environmental reporter for the Providence Journal.
(Courtesy of Karin Lemkau)