Committed to Conservation

By Aaliyah Weathers

Committed to Conservation

By Aaliyah Weathers
Marine Affairs major Hailey Wilson hopes to guide the fashion industry’s corporate sustainability practices.

Originally from Jupiter, Fla., Hailey Wilson has always had a passion for the ocean. So when it came time to start turning that love into a career, she knew there was only one place to do it. 

Wilson was accepted to the University of Miami—the only school she sent an application—and entered as a marine biology major in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. After discovering she wanted to focus on conservation, she transitioned into marine affairs. One of Wilson’s favorite aspects of her education was the emphasis on experiential learning and the opportunity to study at the Rosenstiel school campus on Virginia Key as early as her freshman year. As a junior, she spent a semester studying in the Galapagos, which she counts among her best memories as an undergrad. 

“Living in the Galapagos exposed me to the real hardships of marine pollution because in a place that's so pristine and known for its wildlife, there's plastic debris washing up from all over the world. It's just a really eye opening experience to see how poorly treated the oceans are and how it’s affecting the wildlife,” she said. 

Wilson’s curriculum also gave her the ability to take graduate classes not typically available to undergrads—and she’s even racked up half of the credits needed to earn a master’s degree in professional science, a program that sent her abroad again for a coastal management study in Chile. 

Wilson held several campus leadership roles over the years, including helping to organize Ocean Awareness Week for three years and serving as a member of the Rho Rho Rho Marine Science Honor Society, the Marine Mammal Rescue Team and the Scuba Club. She also worked with nonprofit organizations like Oceana and Plastic Tides. 

After graduation, Wilson will be moving to Key West to be a resident marine biologist on a snorkel boat, gaining additional field experience as she helps tourists and locals alike understand the waters they are diving into. Ultimately, her goal is to work in corporate sustainability, helping major brands in the fashion industry evaluate their sustainability practices and make sound environmental decisions. 

She has already worked in this field as an intern for clothing manufacturer Volcom, as well as for a Lululemon clothing store in Miami, where she created a new position to oversee recycling and overall sustainability of the store.