This week we present two stories from people who were underwater both literally and metaphorically.
Part 1: Barbara Abernathy has always felt at home in the ocean, but when she undergoes a bone marrow transplant, her doctor tells her she can't go into the water for a year.
Part 2: With only two days to find and extract a sample from one of the oldest coral colonies in the world, Konrad Hughen finds himself at the bottom of the ocean with a broken drill bit.
Barbara Abernathy, PhD, LMHC, is the President and CEO of the Pediatric Oncology Support Team, Inc. (POST), a nonprofit helping children and their families cope with the devastating effects of cancer. Being a cancer survivor herself, she brings a personal touch to the children and families battling childhood cancer. She has 30 years’ experience in nonprofits, 21 of those years at POST. She has a PhD in Counselor Education and Leadership from Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Master of Education in Counseling from the University of South Alabama, A Master of Science in Biology from FAU, and a Bachelor of Education in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. She is adjunct faculty at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and FAU. Other professional experience includes pediatric AIDS, bereavement, family counseling, parent education, and treatment of severely abused children. Barbara has presented as an invited speaker at many national and international professional conferences and numerous community and school settings. Her interview with Heal magazine was published in the Spring 2018 issue under the title: “Surviving Survivorship.” She has authored three scholarly peer-reviewed articles. She was awarded the Giraffe Award for women “who stick their neck out for others” by the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County. She also won the 2017 Heroes in Medicine Award presented by the Palm Beach Medical Society and the 2018 MPN Heroes award given by the American Society of Hematology in December.
Konrad Hughen is a Senior Scientist in the department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He received a double B.Sc. in Biology and Geology at the University of California, Santa and was awarded a NASA Graduate Research Fellowship, leading to his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Konrad was also awarded a NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, which he pursued at Harvard University before joining the scientific faculty at WHOI. As a geochemist and paleoclimatologist, Konrad’s research interests involve the development and application of proxy indicators for reconstructing climatic and environmental change, focusing on materials from modern coral tissues to centuries-old coral drill cores. His investigations have taken him all over the world, including recent expeditions to Micronesia, Red Sea, Maldives, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and Cuba.
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