Observing the Ocean

December 1, 2015
Kasey Cheydleur
Eint Kyi ’15 on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii
Eint Kyi ’15 on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo credit: Eint Kyi

Eint Kyi ’15 enjoys spending her days surrounded by the subject of her study as she pursues a master’s degree in oceanography at the University of Hawaii. “I chose to study in Hawaii because it was the ideal place to study oceanography,” Kyi says. “University of Hawaii has its own research cruises that go out monthly to sample specific sites in the Pacific Ocean, and there’s nothing more satisfying than living in a place surrounded by the field you love.”

Within the field of oceanography, Kyi is particularly interested in marine biogeochemistry, and her current project concerns both climate change and the biodiversity within oceans. The project looks at the rates of remineralization in surface waters, with a specific focus on the nitrogen cycle and quantifying specific bacterial and archaeal species in order to accurately measure biodiversity throughout the world’s oceans. This will help determine to what extent the oceans can continue to support the nitrogen cycle as climate change leads to increased sources of nitrogen in the atmosphere.

A native of Yangron, Myanmar, Kyi studied biochemistry and geology at Oberlin. She says she chose Oberlin because she wanted a “stimulating and challenging environment with students who genuinely care for and accept each other’s opinions.” Kyi says she also appreciated Oberlin’s curricular flexibility, which allowed her the chance explore many different disciplines, eventually leading her to discover a passion for oceanography.

Kyi credits her geology advisor, Professor Karla Hubbard, for helping prepare her for graduate school and a career in the sciences by teaching an appreciation for the small moments. “She taught me every little step I take in research matters, even if it never gets recognized or published,” Kyi says. “And that lesson was hugely helpful because everybody in science is so driven to have their works be published it can easily overshadow the love and interest that got us started in research in the first place.”

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