Undergraduate Academic Affairs

April 4, 2023

Making marine biology fun

Danielle Marie Holland

Samantha-Lynn Martinez, ‘25, is a marine biologist on a mission.

An undergraduate in the Honors Program at the University of Washington, Martinez not only studies marine biology, but is also pursuing evolution, ecology and conservation biology. Add in her videography, photography and design work, and it’s easy to see how Martinez is making waves innovating science impact communications. With a unique perspective as both a scientist and an artist, Martinez communicates in an informative, engaging and visually stunning manner.

The environment has always been close to Martinez’s heart and her home. Growing up in the Philippines and then moving to Seattle, she has lived in cities with close ties to their marine and terrestrial resources. “Although they are practically polar opposite climates, there is a palpable sentiment towards the preservation of the natural environment and working with the resources that surround us,” said Martinez.

Martinez already has an extensive history in youth education. From her role as a youth ocean advocate at the Seattle Aquarium to her curriculum development for the Salish Sea School, Martinez has seen children light up with excitement from discovering something new countless times. “I think getting people properly excited about science is what helps it stick and drive further curiosity or compassion for the subject at hand,” said Martinez.

Martinez was recently featured by HiHo Kids in their “Kids Meet a Marine Biologist” series, where she shares her passion for marine biology with a new generation. The Burke Museum loaned Martinez fish collection specimens for the filming, much to the fascination of the kids.

On educational outreach Martinez shared, “So much of what drives people to do what they love, and do it well, is the ability to feel that they belong and are welcome to explore their field of interest. In my opinion, this starts early. If science education can utilize the natural curiosity that kids, teens, and young adults already have and encourage this to stay strong throughout their academic years, I feel like people would be much more inclined to chase after what they’ve always wanted to do.”

Martinez continues to do just that, clearing new pathways for women of color in the industry. Martinez is intent to become the first Filipina wildlife camerawoman and host on mainstream media, telling wildlife stories from the States to the Philippines and beyond.