Sascha Rosin ’21, a marine sciences major and sustainability studies minor, was left with few employment options this summer after COVID-19 shut down many New York businesses.
So when her plans for a traditional summer job evaporated because of the virus outbreak, she relied on contacts from Long Island’s North Fork, where she grew up.
Rosin, from Mattituck, New York, sent her résumé to a few local oyster farmers to see if any of them needed a hand.
Will Peckham, founder of the West Robins Oyster Company, got back to her with a summertime opportunity: Daily maintenance of next year’s crop of oyster seed in a floating upwelling system called a flupsy, which speeds up oyster growth from eight months to a few weeks by using simple technology.
“It’s exciting to work for someone who is just as fascinated with sustainable aquaculture as I am! I began in mid-June and will be here until school starts,” she added.
Rosin grew up with a seine net in her hands and father with a passion for fishing, so she became adept at hauling in bluefish and stripers. Her dad passed away when she was 14, but his legacy lives on in her love for marine life.
A University Scholar, Rosin took advantage of a Presidential scholarship to work with SBU Associate Professor Joseph Warren from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) on a seven-day cruise funded by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in the Atlantic Ocean off the South Shore of Long Island.
Her first experience with Warren was a two-week Study Abroad program to Jamaica in January 2019. That led to lab work with him that summer.
“I highly recommend the four-credit Jamaica Study Abroad program to any SoMAS student,” said Rosin. “I became dive-certified and used scuba gear and went snorkeling to do a complete list of photo identifications of animals and seagrass we encountered.”
When one of Warren’s graduate students got severely seasick on board the 82-foot-long research vessel Seawolf, based in Port Jefferson, New York, in the beginning of the DEC cruise, he invited Rosin to step aboard in Shinnecock.
During the cruise, Warren, Rosin and the crew studied the bioacoustics of krill, while another group on board tracked the feeding patterns of various whale species.
“Now that I am interning in the farming industry, I am very hopeful about oyster growers and even more hopeful about local farmers in general, who are dwindling because organic farming is expensive,” she said. “Many don’t want to enter because of the lifestyle, and also because young people are seldom encouraged to enter the field.”
She added, “Stony Brook made me take environmental science a little more seriously. A lot of schools just romanticize it,” she said.
She cited a course she took called Environmental Philosophy.
“In this class, you explore the ethics of human relationships with nature and how we look at environmental problems as fixable or not fixable,” said Rosin.
Rosin’s philosophy encourages not only sustaining biological diversity, but also a broad spectrum of the population’s enjoyment of the environment.
“We all came from the water. It’s something we should all have access to,” she said.
— Glenn Jochum