Leslie M. Smith
The fall semester after my graduation in 2011, I started attending Salem College as a Music Education major. I soon realized a career in music was not for me. In the 2013 spring semester, I dropped to attending college part time, and after that I dropped out altogether. During my hiatus, I moved around the country, and eventually ended up back in Kinston, where I had my gorgeous baby girl. After transferring to Lenoir Community College in the 2015 fall semester, I discovered my strong interest for the marine sciences. I let this interest guide me to apply for the semester at the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) with NC State in Morehead City, but unfortunately, I was unable to participate because of financial issues. I refused to take no for an answer. A few emails later, I had an interview in educational outreach with The Science House at CMAST for a volunteer position. I volunteered under Dr. Patrick Curley, and he was so impressed with me that I was named Director of the NC Youth Ocean Conservation Summit.