2021 graduating employee

Dalton James Hesley

What is your current role and department at UM?
I am a senior research associate II in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology for the Rosenstiel School.

What degree will you be receiving at graduation?
I will be receiving a Master of Science in education from the Community and Social Change Program at the School of Education and Human Development.

How long have you been at the University?
I first came to the University in 2014 as a graduate student in the Master of Professional Science program at the Rosenstiel School, but was fortunate to be offered a full-time position in Dr. Lirman's Benthic Ecology and Coral Restoration Lab upon graduating. I have worked in the coral research lab since then, while also managing our team's Rescue a Reef program!

What were some highlights of your time as a student and employee? 
I am so thankful for the 6+ years I have had as a student and staff member of the University of Miami. The Rosenstiel School is an absolutely incredible place to call home with its world-renowned researchers, oceanside views, and local watering hole (The Wetlab). There have been so many highlights during my time here. I will forever be grateful for logging more than 900 scientific dives with our coral restoration team, making lifelong friendships in class and the community, and cheering at countless ’Canes games, not to mention the amazing education I received!

What is a favorite UM memory? 
My all-time favorite UM memory is probably back in August 2020 during a scientific dive at night when we first learned our coral colonies had successfully spawned in the wild! It was such a magical sight. This was a really important breakthrough for our research team and a moment I will always cherish.

Have you received any awards, honors, or special achievements? 
While I have not received any awards, I am very proud to say I graduated with a 4.0 in the M.S.Ed. program while still working full time in our coral research lab.

Please share advice for employees looking to go back to school.
My advice is simple: do it. There is no better time than now and no better place than the University of Miami! I promise you it will be well worth it in the end.

Learn about other 2021 graduating employees.