Rebekkah LaBlue

December 11, 2019

For graduating senior Rebekkah Leigh LaBlue ’19, finding true happiness is all about achieving the right balance. As both a biology and creative writing major, LaBlue often finds herself being pulled in two competing directions.

“My whole bread and butter is trying to figure out how to marry being an artist and scientist,” said LaBlue. “For me, they’re very similar. Writing a poem is a lot like doing a scientific experiment. It’s a process, or hypothesis, and then I work to answer a question. I would not be a good scientist if I were not a writer, and vice versa.”

As a scientist, LaBlue’s primary focus during her time at UNCW has been her work in integrative evolutionary ecologist Raymond Danner’s lab studying the least tern, a local bird that is in decline due to human activities, like building on the beaches. Her thesis work on the topic recently received some notable attention. At an ornithologist conference earlier this fall, LaBlue was given an award for best undergraduate oral presentation. She attributes her success in part to her unique background.

Right now, we need people who are clear science communicators more than ever," said LaBlue. "I feel very comfortable that I am able to fill that niche and help science be accessible."

LaBlue initially indulged her artistic side during her sophomore year and found herself hooked, almost accidentally. While enrolled in a publishing class she had a self-proclaimed ‘a-ha moment’ and is now a regular fixture at Lookout Books, the UNCW Department of Creative Writing’s literary book imprint.

“My experience at UNCW has been funny, because people will say you go to college, narrow in and find your own thing, focus on it, get good at it and then graduate. College has not been that for me,” she said. “It’s been me deciding I am not going to pick any one thing because I love all of it.”

After graduating, LaBlue hopes to continue developing the traits that make her versatile and look for opportunities that actively engage and reward them.

“If I am not doing both my writing and my science in some way, I will be unhappy. That is something I am coming to terms with,” said LaBlue. “I care so deeply about both disciplines that I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t pursue them both.”

--Christina Schechtman