By Caroline Kelley | Contributing Writer

“It’s not going to take a lot to make yourself known to someone else and do something good and turn their life around. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand,” says Gabbie Kuba, senior biology major and environmental activist.

From the moment she stepped foot on campus, Kuba began serving her community by helping people struggling with disabilities, poverty, and human trafficking just to name a few.

Kuba’s passion for helping others can be attributed to her realization that, “there’s people and other living things that are vulnerable. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to [these] things and I was sick and tired of people not doing anything.” Each category of service that she is involved in stems from this idea of giving back to those who have the least.

Attending an agricultural high school piqued Kuba’s interest in science. Kuba was enrolled in an animal tech program at her school with plans to be a veterinarian. A strong biology student, she also considered a pre-medical track to become an oncologist. After being accepted to Salve Regina’s biology program, she began marine-based research that prompted her decision to change paths. Kuba found herself fascinated with marine life, resolving to work hands-on helping the planet. “I don’t want to be in an office inside a building, not being able to be outside helping life that isn’t being helped,” she says. Interning at Save The Bay, Kuba now works on habitat restoration, aquarium maintenance, and educational programs for visiting classrooms.

While on campus, she is often found at Jazzman’s cafe, or “home base,” as she calls it. Kuba situates herself in the lounge to do work and interact with friends, sometimes not leaving until midnight. “It doesn’t matter if I’m here late,” she explains, “I don’t want any of the professors to have to do more work.” Kuba works closely with Dr. JD Swanson and Dr. Jameson Chase, with whom she completes research on watershed, beach pollution, and Ulva, a harmful seaweed genus.

Although she works mainly in the Aquidneck Island area, Kuba’s passion to enact change has taken her all over the globe, including trips to New Zealand, Ireland, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Her projects abroad have included research-based biology courses, attending a Youth Mercy Leadership conference, volunteering at an orphanage, and helping survivors of sex trafficking.

Kuba spoke of her service trip to Nicaragua, explaining her work as a series of small projects that made a major impact on the happiness and well being of those living and working at an orphanage. She noted that this trip made it easier to prepare for her most recent trip to Mexico, which she described as as “an eye-opening experience.” She spoke of the language barrier, saying, “It didn’t even matter that we didn’t speak Spanish… because you don’t need to have a deep conversation to make an impact and show [people] love,” she says.

Kuba will continue to show love throughout her final year at Salve in focusing on her club, Dialogue, which was established this semester. The group, which focuses on community, justice, and faith, is aimed at creating open conversations among students on and off campus. Two conversations Kuba plans to have and take action on this semester are on-campus composting and creating a greener, more sustainable community in Newport.

Over winter break, Kuba will head to Belize for a study abroad program where she will camp, tag birds to track their migration patterns, and identify other species. Post-graduation, Kuba plans to take a gap year in order to garner more experience before taking her next steps to continue on her path in changing the world. Hoping to work with microplastics and marine science, she is optimistic about the future. “Everything is possible at this point,” she says.

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