Interview with Caine Jette
The National Ocean Sciences Bowl strives to reach out to our alumni to hear what they are up to and to share their post-high school stories with the NOSB community. This interview is with Caine Jette, an Aloha Bowl alum from Hawaii, who is still actively involved with NOSB as a volunteer at the Blue Lobster Bowl and the national Finals Competition. Caine is currently a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) double majoring in computer science and oceanography. In addition to serving as a moderator, during the annual competitions; he is also working with NOSB to develop an electronic question notebook, called the electronic Ocean Sciences Bowl (eOSB). This new software program is helping NOSB go green, by eliminating the need for each region to print thousands of sheets of paper each year.
Allison Dodson, the 2010 NOSB national office intern, spoke with Caine in early May 2010 to ask him about his experiences with NOSB.
Allison Dodson (A.D.) – Hi, Caine. I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to participate in one of NOSB’s alumni interviews. To start can you tell us how you first became interested in marine science?
Caine Jette (C.J.) My first interest in marine science developed from my involvement in NOSB. As cliché as it sounds, I had not remotely considered ocean science as a possible career for myself. National Ocean Sciences Bowl opened my eyes to a myriad of new opportunities, careers I had not in the least considered beforehand. And, as it turns out, I picked one of them up as a second major.
A.D. – That’s really interesting, and brings a couple questions to mind. One being when and for how many years did you participate in NOSB?
C.J. - I competed in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 — Scripps, Biloxi, Charleston, and Monterey, as I recall. We placed 6th in 2004 and 5th in 2005. I’ve since been volunteering at both the regional and national level.
A.D. – With over 7 years of NOSB experience under your belt what is your fondest NOSB memory, specifically during your years as a competitor?
C.J. – I remember losing a match at nationals and wandering off into the gardens to ponder the circumstance. I came back just in time for the next match, and our team knocked the competition out. We had such a well-played round that we finally believed we could win Nationals, and we went on to win 5th place.
A.D. – Do you feel your experience with NOSB helped you better understand your home state of Hawaii?
C.J. - Honestly, my experiences with NOSB has not significantly changed my understanding of my own home. Though NOSB has taught me a new found appreciation of the tides, one is not often allowed many more opportunities to ponder the mysteries of the deep without drawing attention to oneself. Beyond the tides, my understanding of the ocean at this time was rather superficial.
A.D. – Since you grew up in Hawaii, how did you decide to attend college in Massachusetts at MIT?
C.J. - Honestly, I was torn between Stanford and MIT. The deciding difference was my ability to play volleyball at a competitive level– at MIT, my presence was welcome, while at Stanford, I’d barely go noticed without the most herculean of efforts.
A.D. - What are you studying at MIT?
C.J. - I’m double majoring in computer science and oceanography. One would not have a difficult time arguing that eOSB is a result of the fusion of my majors; applying my knowledge of computer programming for the benefit of NOSB seemed an obvious idea at the time.
A.D. - Do you have any career aspirations that are related to marine science?
C.J. – I have no career plans at the moment. Possible paths include studying medicine, becoming a high school physics teacher, and opening a breakfast joint. At this point, all bets are off. My advisor in oceanography at MIT is head of the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program, so hopefully I have some chance of getting into graduate school at some point. Other than that, I’ll take opportunities as they come.
A.D. – Why did you choose keep in touch with NOSB?
C. J. - I received an email asking for volunteers for the regional competition of NOSB, so I responded. The coordinator at the time had no idea I was a previous participant. I kept in touch with NOSB because they cared about my future. They kept up with my current academic endeavors, invited me back each year, and provided internship and career contacts. I recognized its importance in the world at large, and in my own life. I found I had the ability to flex my skills in computer science while impacting the program in a positive way.
A.D. – What has been your best experience as an NOSB alum?
C.J. - Interacting with the students each year is always an amazing experience. I enjoy sharing my college experiences with the recently-matriculated students. I am an example of what NOSB can be, and it’s fun seeing how students react to that idea.
A.D. - Would an alumni network for NOSB alums be something you would be interested in joining?
C.J. - I have always encouraged this idea — sign me up ASAP! We should foster alumni relations, as it will only lead to an increase in participation in NOSB activities.
A.D. – Thank you again for taking the time to talk with us about your experiences with NOSB.