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TrailBlazing Latinos's Podcast

Sep 16, 2020

Melissa Cristina Márquez has an important role that the world overlooks: she is the protector of sharks. If sharks could talk, they would profusely thank her. In the future, when sharks are thriving and well protected, we will be thanking her.

When Melissa saw her first shark breach out of the water on Shark Week, she instantly knew that she wanted to study sharks. As she learned more about sharks, she realized the bad reputation that they had. She knew that their reputation was unjustified. Melissa naturally wanted to speak up for them. She wanted people to focus on how important they are for the world.

Melissa has wasted no time. In one way or another, Melissa has created hundreds of content that pertains to educating people about sharks and their relatives (skates, rays, chimaeras). Her dedication and hard work paid off when she was invited to be on Shark Week in 2018 and 2019. Her appearance grabbed the attention of Latino viewers. Messages such as, “Our daughters are watching you. We are watching you” inundated Melissa’s emails. She screenshot all those messages and uses them as motivation to continue her mission.

It’s no coincidence that Melissa has become a beacon of light to many families after her appearance on Shark Week. As years pass by, young generations of Latinos are seeking careers where there is a lack of Latino diversity. We notice that people who look like us are missing in these fields. Melissa knows how important representation is. If you don’t see other people who look like you in your interested career, how can you see yourself? Melissa generously dedicates her time by visiting classrooms and answering questions on social media so she can navigate future Latino scientists in the right direction. It is altruism like that that is advancing more Latinos into the sciences.

The next time you see or hear about a shark, you might have more empathy for these beautiful creatures. Melissa will have you convinced that “We shouldn’t be afraid of an ocean with sharks, we should be afraid of an ocean without them.”


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