Jim's Research Trip to Corsica

Hello Friends, Family, and Acquaintances,

I know these types of things are sort of an eye sore on 'your wall' or popping up in your inbox and I am far from the person who would typically beg for money from people when in a tight spot but this is not an ordinary campaign to fund me through a small set back. I do not have a terminal illness, nor am I looking to get a new breast augmentation (but maybe in the future..or not). The reason I am creating this account is to ask for help in shaping my future career and life's dreams.

Sounds like quite the proposal but in all honesty, that is what I hope to achieve from your donations. Just some background for the people I do not get to speak with often; if you do not already know, I am a newly admitted transfer student to the University of California, Santa Cruz. I set goals back in my junior year of high school that I would become a marine biologist, make it here, eventually get my PhD, and go on to "save the world" as I used to tell everyone that would ask me what I want to do in my career.  I am exceptionally passionate about the ocean and cannot get enough of it.  I am now completing my first year at this incredible institution and have had a blast thus far. A few weeks ago, incredible news dawned on my student Gmail inbox notifying me that I was selected to join the UCSC Marine Biology field quarter, which is going to Corsica, France in the fall quarter. This is said to be one of the most beneficial experiences you can pick up at UCSC, as we will be travelling to a research station on the island of Corsica near the coast of Italy to spend a month developing experiments, running tests, collecting data, and learning all about the marine environment there.  This trip will provide me with research skills and experience that very few programs can offer.  If the only cost was getting over there, then I would not be creating this page but there is a lot more to it.

In order to do scientific research under the water, one must be an AAUS certified scientific SCUBA diver. Currently I am an advanced open water diver and working on attaining my rescue diver certification here in Santa Cruz while attending classes. Even though I have been managing the costs up to this point, I was not prepared for everything required in order to make it on this extravagant science field trip.  If anyone knows a thing about SCUBA diving, it is that it is absolutely incredible and pretty much as close as you can get to flying in a watery world. The second thing people tend to notice once they begin diving is that it can be quite costly.  Up to this point, I have managed to get by with hand-me-downs and rentals.  My gloves and wetsuit are sentimental gifts given to me by a very close and dearly missed family friend that lost a battle to cancer in 2013, my buoyancy control device (BCD) was graciously given to me by an incredible instructor at the Santa Rosa Junior College, and my mask and snorkel are from my inspiration Oceanography teacher that pushed me to chase this dream of mine.  Since moving down to Santa Cruz, I have slowly been purchasing more pieces to the ensemble, including a hood, booties, weight belt, and accessories including scissors, and dive lights.  Unbeknownst to me, the scientific dive certification entails that one must own all their own equipment and equipment must meet their standards. As a result, I will need a new BCD (as mine is outdated, lacks quick release belts, and sites to attach gear to), regulators, hoses, and a dive computer. To my knowledge, this is all I need in terms of SCUBA equipment and though it may not seem like much, but to purchase high-quality, new items, it  will cost upwards of a few thousand dollars. Currently, I am looking to buy used rental equipment from a local dive shop, which should knock the price down by at least a grand, but even with that discount, it is a lot.

On top of having to purchase new diving equipment, I will still need to pay my tuition (that's a given) but also the fees of the research station, which are about $3K, and my travel to and from Europe. It is going to be quite an expensive 10 weeks but the point is, this research trip, the dive certification, and all the experience I am going to gain is going to be a life changing experience and will essentially pave the beginnings of my career as a marine biologist. If you have ever been to the coast with me, it is clear that I am passionate about the ocean and I absolutely love everything about it. I am adept with knowledge about the ocean and love sharing new information with people.  Nonetheless, let's cut to the chase now that you have read about the most recent chapter to my life. I am going on this research trip in the fall and I am in need of upgrading my current SCUBA equipment and purchasing some expensive items required to become a diver for the trip. In addition, I will need to cover the SCUBA certification, the costs of tuition while I am gone, and my travels to and from Europe.  Fortunately, I am working this summer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) here in Santa Cruz with an amazing internship I landed last year before transferring from the SRJC. Thus, I plan to save up a lot of money, though with the cost of living here and expenses of the trip I am afraid it will not be enough to cover all the costs.

This is where I ask you, the reader, if you would be so kind to help with a donation of any size. I am not asking you to pay for my vacation to some tropical island in the Mediterranean, though it may sound like that, but really what you, the donors, are funding is my future career and life's trajectory. This trip will forever change my life and provide me with skills that a small percentage of people have. It will allow me to be highly competitive in any jobs I apply for, and will effectively help me through graduate school after I receive my bachelors next year. Any amount of donation will help me on my journey to becoming the best marine biologist I can be and inadvertently be helping many more people around the world, as I plan to do in my life and career as a marine biologist.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and if you feel inclined to donate, it is more than appreciated.  Anything is helpful.  Even a single dollar would get me excited, so think of this more as an investment because I promise you that I am going to chase my goals and help influence and change this planet in countless, positive ways.



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Jim Freed 
Santa Cruz, CA
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