Small-Town Grad Dives for Shark-Infested Waters
Biology major Angela Peltier cannot wait to have a career raising awareness, researching and tracking shark migration following her graduation from the University of St. Thomas.
“When I look at a shark, I see millions of years of evolution,” Peltier said. “There are so many different kinds of sharks and they have adapted so well to their environment.”
From the small town of Danbury, Texas, about an hour and a half south of Houston, Peltier’s childhood was filled with experiences of marine life.
“I grew up around water,” Peltier said. “My family is always at the beach and fishing. Water is so refreshing and diverse.”
Peltier never thought when she caught a three-foot shark as child she would want to pursue a career studying them.
“I caught a shark when I was fishing on my dad’s boat once,” Peltier said. “We threw it back, but it was kind of a scary experience. Now, I want to free dive with sharks and track them. I’ve come pretty far.”
Peltier decided on biology after talking with Dr. Rosemarie Rosell, professor and Cullen-Smith Endowed Chair of Biology, who encouraged her to work with animals.
“Ecological interactions and co-dependent relationships are so interesting to me,” Peltier said. “Nature is just so fascinating and Dr. Rosell helped me realize this career path. Wildlife biology is what I want to do.”
Peltier took a class in marine biology with Dr. Ruth Ann Bagnall and was hooked on studying marine life.
“Dr. Bagnall inspired me,” Peltier said. “I like the way she is passionate and driven about her job. I want to do the things she did.”
Peltier graduated with a degree in biology and her family came from Danbury to attend.
Although Peltier had a few challenges getting used to the city and deciding on her major, she initially wanted to be a doctor but changed to medical research, she came to enjoy Houston and UST.
“I love how close everything is,” Peltier said. “I didn’t have a grocery store within 20-30 minutes in Danbury. The campus is like a small town, which made it easier too. My professors know me and I see my friends around campus all the time.”
This summer, Peltier has an internship as an environmental consultant with SWCA Environmental Consultants surveying land in the Houston area. She plans to attend graduate school at Texas A&M University in Galveston and will study wildlife biology.