Freshman Delaney Michalski found a passion from a unique adventure out West


When freshman Delaney Michalski arrived in San Francisco this past summer, she was bracing herself for a mellow, melancholy trip. As it turns out, this trip would incite a new passion– one that may lead to a career.

Every few years, Delaney and her family venture out west to visit her great-grandparents. One year, her parents decided to take her and her siblings to a marine reserve, which sparked an interest in Delaney.

“My parents thought it would be a cool experience for us when we were younger because all we knew was Lake Michigan,” Delaney said. “Even then, I had a passion for the ocean, tide pools, and things of that nature.”

Finding herself in California again for her great-grandmother’s funeral, Delaney and her family decided to return to the reserve, searching for an enjoyable experience in an otherwise morose trip.

“We went again because of how amazing and eye-opening it was the first time,” Delaney said. “It was a whole new experience for me this time because I’m older and more mature.”

This new maturity allowed Delaney to fully appreciate the complexity and beauty of what she was observing.

“It was an incredible experience seeing how diverse and unpredictable the ocean is,” Delaney said. “There were so many animals– I didn’t even know the names of some of them. We saw so many crabs and got pinched a lot, and millions of hermit crabs covered the coral and rock. I almost caught a few eels and fish, and I even saw some jellyfish washed up on the shore.”

Delaney even stumbled upon a larger piece of fascinating nature on her own.

“When I was looking for eels, I had my head down the whole time,” Delaney said. “I heard this weird sound, and when I looked up and saw a fat grey thing barking at me it was kind of a shock– turns out it was just a seal.”

It was experiences like these that peaked Delaney’s interest in marine life. Although it has always interested her, marine biology has quickly grown into a passion; one she’d like to pursue as a career.

“Visiting the reserve definitely changed my life,” Delaney said. “Before, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but now I plan on becoming a marine biologist after school.”

Merely two visits to the reserve transformed Delaney’s opinions regarding the ocean and its vastness, as well as the fascinating creatures that live there.

“After visiting the marine reserve, I was in awe of the diversity and overall beauty of the ocean,” Delaney said. “The trip increased my respect and admiration for the ocean and the animals that live in it. I talked to many of the wildlife rangers there, which taught me just how fragile the ocean’s ecosystem really is. One disease wiped out all of the starfish in the area. Protecting and preserving the ocean is extremely important– I now look at marine life in a completely different light.”