Reimagining ocean education
Growing up, Fiorenza Micheli spent nearly every summer exploring the waters of Italy’s coast, where she fell in love with the sea and its many creatures. At a young age, she was quick to make the connection between her love for the ocean and innate interest in science, which paved a career path consisting of travel, teaching, and innovative research. At Stanford, Micheli is a marine ecologist and professor at the Hopkins Marine Station within Stanford’s Ocean Department and co-director of Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, but her influence goes far beyond these positions alone.
As a teacher, Micheli inspires engagement and enthusiasm. One of her favorite aspects of teaching is the opportunity to go out in the field with her students – and that has involved local expeditions to Monterey Bay, Baja California, Mexico, and the Pacific Line Islands. “It’s one of the most exciting and effective ways of teaching and learning together,” she said. “When you can see that spark of interest and curiosity – it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of my work.”
As a researcher, Micheli focuses on supporting healthy, resilient oceans in relation to the coastal social-ecological systems that impact human and marine communities. Her projects have expanded across the coasts of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea, Palau, and more.
Micheli’s passion for her roles as an educator and researcher prompted her to take a leadership role in the establishment of the new Oceans Department within the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, which will serve as a hub for interdisciplinary ideas, research, and education for ocean discovery and sustainability.
Micheli is especially thrilled for the opportunity to expand collaboration, increase accessibility to Hopkins Marine Station, and centralize the role of oceans in global sustainability solutions. “If I had started earlier in an environment like the one that is envisioned for the Oceans Department, it would have been my ideal home,” Micheli said. “The range of ideas, collaboration, and resources will lead to global impact."