Brianna “Brie” Myre – From CB to the Sea
Brianna, “Brie” Myre, a 2008 graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School has been working towards her dream job for as long as she can remember. Along the way the dream changed in an “ah-ha” moment kind of way. With a plan to be a poet, once she started writing poetry about what she was learning in biology class she realized her passion lay in the water rather than the word.
She speaks of her alma mater with a hint of reverence, crediting her experiences at AL to the opportunities she is currently able to pursue. School days at AL were filled with a variety of activities; 3-year drum major for the band, 4 time All-state clarinet, jazz band, NHS, Astra Club, yearbook, swim team, school play her senior year, engineering club and yet somehow found time for classes. It was in AP Chemistry and AP Biology that she found her love of science. She built upon this love of science after graduation, majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife at the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a minor in Spanish. Through her program at UNL she was able to participate in a variety of internships across the country and at home including the Henry Doorly Zoo where she was a Reptile Intern with the alligators. She soon discovered her primary passion – sea turtle conservation. From Lincoln she traveled to Massachusetts to gain experience in marine mammal rehabilitation. The summer before her graduation, she spent time in North Carolina on Topsail Island, a popular location for seat turtle nesting, with a focus on sea turtle rehabilitation.
Brie’s education then took her to Southeastern Louisiana University for her Master’s program. Moving and hour north of New Orleans put her closer to her dream, both literally and figuratively. She was honored to be able to work with one of the top turtle endocrinologists in the country specializing in sea turtle reproduction. Her research took her to Florida performing ultrasounds on sea turtles, setting up her PhD work. Her work was recently accepted and will be published in a reptile specific scientific journal. While she attended the International Sea Turtle Symposium in Lima, Peru she presented her Master’s work and was awarded a Conservation Impact Award. In her work she developed tools to track hormones used in reproduction and metabolism resulting in a blood test to determine if a sea turtle will be nesting, essentially a sea turtle pregnancy test. Given sea turtles nest only every other year, this development allows for a much easier field test for researchers to administer rather than a traditional ultrasound.
Through Texas A& M University she began her greatest challenge yet, a PhD course of study ranging from 5 to 7 years with a goal to finish by the year 2020. Brie will expand upon her previous research and delve into feeding behaviors to determine a sea turtles overall health, hoping to provide an explanation for the poor overall health condition of sea turtles in certain areas. In just a few weeks, she will travel to Costa Rica along with another graduate student and three undergraduate students for an in depth project collaborating with other researchers developing research that could revolutionize what is currently known about sea turtle reproduction.
As she prepares to leave the United States for Cost Rica she thinks back to Iowa and her hometown. Her family is still in Council Bluffs and she loves to come back and visit. She is overwhelmed by how different things look in the Bluffs. The school buildings, the development, and the art work on the Broadway viaduct mentioning how beautiful it looks at sunset.
She is proud to be from Council Bluffs and even more proud of the education she received as a student. She was given every opportunity to prepare for college by being exposed to high level concepts during her coursework. The small feel of the school regardless of the size and the close connections she made to teachers, she feels made all the difference later on. She credits the district Administration for setting students up to do the best they possibly can through local opportunities. She is so fortunate to have her education as a strong foundation for her future endeavors.
As she is quoted on her blog, she will continue “Saving turtles and chasing dreams” each day hoping to leave her mark in the conservation world. .
To learn more about Brie’s work, visit her blog at www.briemyre.blogspot.com or to learn more about her upcoming research work in Costa Rica at www.gofundme.com/seaturtlebrie.