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Rachel Decker

Academic Advisor

Liaison Major: Biology (Last names L-Z)


I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah loving the mountains and outdoors. I moved to Ohio to earn my bachelor's degree at Oberlin College where I majored in biology and minored in writing. During my senior year I did a semester-at-sea study abroad program and fell in love with the ocean. When I graduated, I started looking for experience and travel opportunities related to the water and worked for several years for marine education programs and research projects in the Florida Keys, The Bahamas and Australia. I eventually went on to pursue an MS degree in biology at the University of South Carolina where I wrote my research thesis on individual variation in fiddler crab behavior and its relationship to physiology.


After finishing grad school I worked for several years as a manager for two academic ecology labs. The first studied sea grass and carbon sequestration, and the second studied freshwater food webs. Despite my passion for marine ecology, a career in nursing was in the back of my mind. It is a profession I deeply admire, and I was ready for a change. I applied and was accepted into Yale University's School of Nursing, earning an MSN and specializing in acute care. With this degree I worked for clinical trials investigating experimental drugs to treat fibrotic lung disease, an urgent care clinic, and an ICU.


I've been in Jacksonville since 2017 and enjoy exploring North Florida, especially the beaches, with my husband and toddler. I'm honored to be an academic advisor here at UNF, and excited to be a member of this diverse and talented community.