“How do a Japanese guy and a French girl end up in the US?” This might have been the question we were asked the most when we lived in Seattle. We actually met in grad school in France. Although Kotaro is Japanese, he grew up in Africa going to French schools. He then moved to France for higher education and that’s where we met. Our first introduction to SAFS was during internships in summer 2006. Kotaro found an internship first in the WET team led by Charles “Si” Simenstad. I thought it would be fun to follow him for the summer. So I started emailing Kerry Naish, and managed to convince her to host me for the summer. The goal for both of us was to get hands-on research experience and to decide whether we would like to pursue this type of career. Arriving in Seattle, Kotaro was convinced he wanted to obtain a PhD; I was convinced research was not for me at all!
That four-week internship changed our lives! Kotaro assisted Emily Howe (MS, 2006; PhD, 2012) with lab and field work in Padilla Bay. I worked with Kristi Straus (PhD, 2010) to assess the population structure of pinto abalone and was lucky to go to Mukilteo almost weekly for wet lab work. During our short internships, we quickly became part of the SAFS family and started what would become lifelong friendships. We loved the work environment so much, science and people alike, that we decided to come back to Seattle in September 2007. I started a PhD with Kerry Naish in population genomics and Kotaro a (second) MS with Si, followed by a PhD in quantitative fishery science with Ray Hilborn. We really enjoyed working at SAFS so much that we each did a post-doc there as well! Our four-week internship lead to nine years at SAFS!
SAFS is an amazing place to do science because of all of its great scientists, but also because of the alumni and the agencies and research institutes nearby with whom collaborations are numerous. Beyond the science, SAFS is an amazing community. We had such a great time during TGITs, intramural softball games, SAFS picnics, holiday parties and latte carts, and the wine club.
Our friends at SAFS were our family away from home. So much so that a large delegation of SAFS folks came to our wedding in France in 2011. We were also very lucky to have them around us when our son Paul was born in 2015. It takes a village to raise a child, and in our case, that village is our SAFS family.
We moved to Norway in December 2016 to do research there. I have a postdoc on population genomics of Atlantic cod at the University of Oslo, and Kotaro has a postdoc on quantitative ecology at the University of Agder. We have since welcomed a new addition, Emma, in January 2018. Although we love living in Norway, SAFS will always be the place where we received the scientific foundations for our careers and also the place that made us the people we are today.