Meet Asta Zerue Habtemichael

Science Communication Intern Asta Zerue Habtemichael joined SOI’s communication team to grow his resume. A passionate advocate for making science accessible to all, he hoped to hone his science communication skills by writing for the general public while learning about behind-the-scenes work that makes deep-sea exploration possible. In October, he wrote about how ROV SuBastian and SOI’s Divestream provide near-real-time access to the ocean for scientists, artists, students, and ocean enthusiasts; the piece was published in Sea Technology Magazine.

As part of his internship, Asta has helped draft expedition reports, monitored media coverage, and learned about the range of publications and outlets that cover ocean topics. “We are trained in a holistic manner, so I’ve learned all aspects of the work that happens here,” said Habtemichael. “This internship has been beyond my expectations. I achieved what I planned and gained valuable lessons.”

Asta is pursuing his doctoral degree in chemical oceanography at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography and is a trainee in the university’s STEEP Superfund Research program. Before moving to Rhode Island, he studied the impacts of heavy metal pollution and ocean acidification on fish and shellfish species in Eritrea. He also led community-based initiatives on education, environmental stewardship, and pollution remediation. After completing his Ph.D., Asta plans to work at the interface of science and policy. He hopes to better understand chemical impacts within an ecological health framework to inform prevention and mitigation efforts. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, running, playing soccer, and cooking traditional recipes from around the world.

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