2017 Incoming Grad Series: Phoebe Racine

by Nicole Poletto, Professional Development Peer
Monday, September 18, 2017 9:55 AM

Welcome to the first student profile article of our 2017 Incoming Grad Series, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of our largest and most diverse incoming class in recent memory.

First up is Phoebe Racine, a UCSB Graduate Scholar from Tehachapi, California, with an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College. She is entering the Ph.D. program at the Bren School of Environmental Science ​& Management with a focus in Marine ​Ecology. During her time at UCSB, she will be researching Aquaculture and will work to answer questions that directly impact how ecosystems function and what's for dinner. Read on to learn more about Phoebe's background and why she chose UCSB as well as some surprising fun facts.


Phoebe grew up in California and ​characterizes herself as a child of messy divorces and tangled family structure. She is the daughter of an Irish-Catholic mother and a Blackfeet father and the sister to two Blackfeet-Jewish siblings. A court battle at age eight ensured she would split her life between Tehachapi and the Bay Area. In her interview with us, she discussed moments of tension, weirdness, and poverty in her childhood. She went to a school where she was one of two Native kids, the other being the mascot. She's had the lights shut off in her home and felt lost. However, when she looks back on her childhood, she feels loved, cherished, and privileged. Two distinct cultures and multiple spaces have shaped her into who she is today and the variety in her life has taught her to adapt. 


"Fish!" UCSB offer​s everything ​Phoebe could hope for in a Ph.D. and allows her to explore her love of aquaculture. She explains, "UCSB is one of the best places in the world to study fisheries and is growing in the aquaculture space. It's rigorous and respected but still offers the ability to maintain a work-life balance that other programs cannot." She is looking forward to living in Santa Barbara because it offers her the opportunity to live a life more authentic to herself. Growing up, nature was her church and greatest teacher. Santa Barbara makes it easy to get outside and relax. Work frustrations can be resolved with bike rides, swimming with seaweeds, or scrambling up Cathedral Peak. 



"It's been a long time coming that fish would become the means to achieve my life's mission of working between earth systems and human needs," Phoebe ​says. This interest began in the sixth grade and continued at Dartmouth College where she had the opportunity to conduct research on the Eastern Pacific Ocean's tuna fishery. This research opened the door to what is now a seven-year passion for aquaculture as she found that the human relationship to fish – a globally significant source of protein and livelihoods – has a huge impact on environmental health.



Some of Phoebe's hobbies include biking with friends, throwing a good party, creating clever names for events, making candles, eating food, making food, thinking about food, sniffing melabies, catching sunsets, and listening to podcasts to annoyingly regurgitate facts to her friends. ​You'd be surprised to know that she sorted cattle every Thursday for a few years with Mandy the horse and also has some skills in chicken capturing. 

Welcome, Phoebe!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Jordan Victorian, an incoming Ph.D. student in Feminist Studies from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who describes themselves as an "angelic troublemaker" and who will be researching black sexual politics here at UCSB.