Megan Cook New Rolex Scholar


Megan Cook, 24, was raised in Boise, Idaho more than 500 miles from the nearest ocean. Growing up in an athletic, water-loving family, she developed a zest for adventure and respect and curiosity about the natural world long before the ocean came into her life. An inspired first-grade teacher first fostered Megan’s ocean interest with crayon-scribbled current patterns, marine life stories and shell math. As other kids made “grown up plans” to become firefighters, business leaders, or sports stars, Megan knew she and the sea were meant to be together. At age 16, Megan was selected as the top international ambassador of a young women’s leadership organization. Traveling nearly 100,000 miles worldwide, Megan gained confidence as a spokeswoman and presenter and broadened her goals for the scale of impacts she hopes to make in the world. This experience will also prove invaluable to her Scholarship year as she is already an old pro at napping during layovers on awkward airport benches.

Megan graduated Magna cum Laude in 2009 from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a minor in Chemistry, and an option in Marine Biology. During college she edited The Catalyst, a journal promoting undergraduate research, and walked onto two Division-I sports teams: rowing and equestrian polo. Initially scuba certified in an Idaho freshwater reservoir, Megan bubbled her way to further confidence and PADI Advanced, Rescue, Drysuit, AAUS and Divemaster certifications in the temperate waters of the Pacific Northwest with the OSU Diving Program. Eager to explore more of the ocean, Megan became an international scholar on exchange to James Cook University in Australia. Upon her return, she enrolled with Sea Education Association, studying in Woods Hole, MA and later sailing a tall-ship research vessel from Tahiti to Hawaii. She worked in the reef fish ecology lab of Dr. Mark Hixon and spent a research season diving in the Bahamas to quantify the impacts of the Indo-Pacific lionfish invasion on native predators and communities. After earning her degree, Megan relocated to Hawaii to work as a freediver on NOAA’s Marine Debris Team throughout the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Her desire to make a positive contribution to the underwater world led her to work on the state’s aquatic invasive species team and as a trainer for the University of Hawaii Scientific Diving program and a community reporting network for coral disease and bleaching outbreaks.

The science and exploration of the ocean fascinate Megan, as does the communication of this knowledge. A scientific extrovert, Megan seeks opportunities to foster bridges between research, media, conservation, industry and exploration. She is especially interested in large-scale ocean issues such as marine debris and invasive species management because of the variety of stakeholders who can be involved in seeking solutions. Megan has received recognition in university-wide and regional symposia, for most outstanding presentation and best seminar for ecology and marine biology. She seeks to explore photography and video documentaries as communication tools during her scholarship year. She believes the ocean is anxious to tell her story, and public awareness is the first step to creating change. Megan hopes to work with diverse groups to further understand and better communicate the wonder, vitality, and drastic changes alive in today’s underwater world in accessible, innovative ways.

Megan is humbled and enlivened to be spending this year among this prestigious network of underwater leaders and looking forward to learning absolutely everything she can absorb.

Contact Megan Cook at: email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Phone: 208-440-9260

Orlando, Florida - Sep 6-8, 2018

Exhibits at Surf Expo: Surf Expo will open its doors on September 6th for three days of watersports equipment and fashion apparel. Over 4,000 brands will be represented.



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