Hannah McKenzie Zapata
In 2018, McKenzie jumped into her studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi as a first-generation student. She is currently a senior Biology major with a concentration in Marine Biology and a minor in Environmental Science, and intends to graduate in Spring 2022. She is a McNair Scholar and LSAMP research student. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has contributed to a multitude of research projects ranging from local larval fish abundance and distribution, to shark mortality estimates from land-based shark fishing tournaments, to Serpulid ecosystem analysis. As a Student Research Assistant in the Coastal Conservation and Restoration laboratory, she collects data on the resilience and recovery of the Baffin Bay ecosystem after the Texas freeze event in February 2021.
Following graduation, McKenzie plans to pursue a career in education and research by attending graduate school. McKenzie is excited to grow from her experiences at HRI. She hopes to continue educating and inspiring others to learn about the importance of the ocean and its inhabitants. When considering her long-term career goals, she aspires to become a shark researcher and, eventually, a professor.