Last November she interned at the Georgia Aquarium, where she worked to feed sharks and other animals in the Ocean Voyager exhibit. She prepared various menu items for Atlantic green turtles, leopard rays and zebra sharks, to name a few, while learning how to maintain their environment.
“I loved it,” she said. “I can’t imagine having done anything else.”
Bridenbaugh came to Berry with a passion for
science. As a freshman she was interested in pursuing marine biology but didn’t have a specific research focus. It was her father
who suggested she try studying sharks. With her supportive family behind her, she quickly warmed to the idea as an animal science major.
“I’ve always been the science person he wanted to be,” she said.
With a mind for both art and science, she earned a musical scholarship to Berry as a violin player. She performed in the school orchestra and in the Praise Band for three years.
She was also active in KCAB as a programmer, planning and booking events on campus. She said the position taught her an immense amount about effectively dealing with different situations.
“It definitely taught me time management and responsibility,” she said. “It’s the best decision I’ve made in college.”
The next step in Bridenbaugh’s scientific life will take her to the Bahamas in January. For three months she will work with graduate students under a professor from the University of Miami, collecting sharks and conducting research as part of a shark lab.
In the future she plans on attending graduate school to further research and conservation measures surrounding the sharks in their habitats.