Ingrid Martinson

North America
Scholar Date: 
2024 to 2025

Ingrid Martinson, 22, was born and raised in landlocked Denver, Colorado where she began pursuing ocean advocacy and conservation. Growing up visiting her mother’s family in Croatia inspired her curiosity and connection with the marine environment. Simultaneously, learning about threats facing our ocean such as plastic pollution and climate change, Ingrid was compelled to make a difference.

In high school, she led a project in collaboration with the Denver Downtown Aquarium and nonprofits 5Gyres and the Inland Ocean Coalition, where she created a kiosk, “Let’s Talk Plastic,” to educate the public about the plastic pollution problem and solutions from the perspective of living in an inland state. Through this experience, she found a passion for scientific communication and engaging the local community in marine conservation initiatives. While working with the aquarium, in 2019 she completed her Open Water SCUBA certification, diving in the aquarium exhibits.

Ingrid continued her diving journey while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Marine Science at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). She completed the university diving program and became a certified AAUS Scientific Diver. In addition to diving, Ingrid has pursued outreach and research opportunities throughout her undergraduate career. During her first year at CSUMB, she began an internship with the Inland Ocean Coalition where she advocated for pro-ocean legislation and created social media campaigns to raise awareness around threats facing the ocean on their national platform. During this internship, she gained experience in ocean advocacy and learned graphic design and marketing skills that help communicate science more effectively with broad audiences.

In her second year, Ingrid was awarded NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program for Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) scholarship which includes two summer research internships. In her first internship, she worked at Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, SC to investigate the long-term impacts of oil spills on fauna in the salt marsh. In her second internship, she worked with NOAA’s nonprofit partner, Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), on their bull kelp restoration project where she assessed the success of outplanting bull kelp as a restoration technique. During this experience, she also started diving with Reef Check, learning how to conduct kelp forest monitoring surveys and honing her scientific diving skills. These internships gave Ingrid the opportunity to lead conservation-focused research and contribute to projects that have lasting implications for advancing restoration of marine ecosystems.

After graduating with her BS, Ingrid is thrilled to start her scholarship year as the 2024 North American Scholar. In pursuit of her career as a researcher, Ingrid is excited to explore the different career possibilities in the field. She hopes that the scholarship year will help her build skills as a science diver and leader in community-based marine conservation.