Alison LaBonte

Region: 
North America
Scholar Date: 
2000 to 2001

Alison LaBonte is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in oceanography at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography studying geology and geophysics. (3/15/02) Alison graduated in June 2000 from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) with a major in Mathematics/ Applied Science and specialization in Computer Programming. A twelve-time recipient of University Honors with a GPA of over 3.9, Alison is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the 1999 winner of the Charles E. and Sue K. Young Undergraduate Student Award. Alison's interest in marine life began at an early age tidepooling along the coast of northern California while also exploring the mountains surrounding her hometown and cross country skiing in the Sierras. Her early curiosities about insects, rocks, flowers, and especially, intertidal invertebrates developed her interest in nature and the sciences. Alison accumulated significant research experience during her university years in an attempt to integrate her mathematical and biological interests. She worked on larval recruitment and density dependence experiments on Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas, models of fish species in patch reef habitats in UCLA's biology department, and theoretical and numerical analysis of invasive species population dynamics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Life has not been all research for Alison at UCLA. In addition to being an assistant instructor just finishing her instructor certification in the UCLA diving program, Alison participated as a member of UCLA's women's water polo team, women's ultimate frisbee team, ski team, and sailing team, and volunteered as a docent for UCLA's oceanographic cruises. "The underwater world, like the terrestrial world, provides enough mystery to intrigue individuals of all disciplines and backgrounds," said Alison, "However, not being our native environment, the underwater world conceals its potential to interest and inspire everyone. Through an interdisciplinary viewpoint and scuba diving instruction, I hope to promote appreciation and preservation by facilitating people's discovery and understanding of the marine environment."