An Interview with WiseOceans… Sophie Costa from Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE)

This week we’re with Sophie Costa, Science Communication Intern at Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE).  SCUBA certified since the age of 12, Sophie has used hard work, flexibility and not taking no for an answer to land her in her dream job.  She reminds us that we are all working for the same cause.

Name: Sophie Costa

Job Title: Science Communication Intern

Organisation: Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE)

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?

Since I was a young girl I have enjoyed observing sea life. My favorite activity was to go to the aquarium and learn all about the various fish species. When I was 12 years old, I became scuba certified, and since then my passion for marine life has only increased. During my time at university I was able to explore this passion, and from there have followed my career in marine conservation work

  • What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?

Hard work and flexibility; I have always been the type who doesn’t take no for an answer. I apply to many position all over the world. I am lucky enough to love living in new cultures and explore new places. Therefore, I have been lucky enough to live throughout the world and work on many different marine conservation projects.

  • How did you land your current job/position? 

I was graduating from school and desperately looking for a position in marine conservation. I came across the job posting on WiseOceans, applied, and landed the job. It was meant to be!

  • Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

In my position I am lucky enough I get to do a little bit of everything- policy, marketing, social media, education and research. My favorite part of the job is that each day is new and never dull! I always stay busy working for a great cause that I am extremely passionate about.

  • Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’? 

Working in a small town in Belize, spreading the word on TIDE’s conservation efforts and educating those in the community really makes me feel as if I am making a difference. There have been times when we go to schools or hold fisher forums, and watching the moment when their minds “click” that this species may not be around for ever or sustainable fishing practices begin to make sense, really influences and inspires me to keep moving forward and fighting for this cause!

  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?  

I wish I would have seen all the experiences that are available to young students. There are so many opportunities out there for college or high school age students, and I wish I would have pursued those more when I was younger.

  •  Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?  

Conservation is such a funny field, because it is so interdisciplinary. I have used a number of skills I never realized were as important as they are – communications, marketing, business, social media – the list goes on and on. I am lucky to have the knowledge and back ground I do. Has led me to be much more flexible and open to new experiences all while working for conservation.

  • What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

Don’t forget we are all working for the same cause and same ecosystem.

  • What is your favourite marine creature and why?  

Oof! That’s a tough question. Either the sea turtle or spotted eagle ray. They provide so many benefits to the ecosystem, and let’s face it – they are so beautiful to look at! Everyone gets excited over marine conservation when they are looking at sea turtles and spotted eagle rays!

  • What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?  

The first time I went scuba diving I was ten years old. I remember at first feeling uneasy about the idea of breathing underwater – but then my dad reminded me of the days when I was a little girl and used to act like I was a mermaid underwater. He told me it was exactly the same, except now I get to even breath underwater. And sure enough, that worked! I took my first off the shore dive and feel in love with it. Being surrounded by coral and bright reef fish, seeing starfish and lobster up close – it was simply amazing! There has been no turning back since.


Thanks Sophie, it sounds like you’re doing great work over in Belize!

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