Straiko, who plans an academic career in
ophthalmology after a preliminary year in internal medicine, went
straight from college to a job in marine biology.
"It isn't as glamorous as Jacques Cousteau makes it look!" he says.
"I spent a year conducting research on
the lobster fisheries in Maine, and that included diving in frigid
waters and working on fishing boats to monitor their catch data.
"Much of the time I was elbow-deep in rotten bait and trying to melt the ice off my clothes by the ship's diesel engine."
Eventually, says Straiko, he missed direct interaction with people.
"Medicine will allow me to pursue educational and research opportunities, as well as have lots of human contact," he says.
However, ophthalmologist-to-be Straiko hasn't given up on the sea.
"I miss it and hope to end up near an ocean or the Great Lakes where I can own a sailboat some day," he says.