Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
I work at the intersection of ocean science and federal policy in Washington, DC. I help my organization communicate science-based policy positions to the U.S. Congress and federal government agencies and develop strategies and campaigns to push for laws that ensure a healthy ocean for everyone and future generations. I also teach law school, most recently a course on Wildlife Law that covered fisheries and marine mammals.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I love nature. Every chance I get I head to the mountains or the ocean or the forest. I love wildlife viewing and am slowly but surely visiting all of our National Parks. This obsession started pretty young and shaped my early education. Once I took environmental science in high school (the only environmental elective available to me), it was pretty clear that I needed to find a college program related to nature or the environment.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My dad told me to find a career that I am passionate about, and I followed his advice. Since then professors, coworkers, and friends have all supported and encouraged me to continue to work in the environmental field.
What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?
I love working with people! I have the pleasure of getting to know scientists, fishermen, small business owners, and experts of all kind that play some role in managing our ocean. Just recently I worked with a group of veterans who are putting scuba diving skills they learned in the military to good use working in ocean conservation. Their stories were very inspiring!
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I worked on a farm throughout high school and some of college and that experience really solidified my love of nature and the environment. When I got to college, my time on the farm helped me figure out that natural resource management was really my main interest. Throughout law school and ever since I have had jobs working on forest management, wildlife management, and other natural resource areas. But once I started working on oceans, I was hooked and haven't looked back.
What are your degrees and certifications?
B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning from Virginia Tech, 2006; J.D. from The American University Washington College of Law, 2010
What are your hobbies?
I live in the city but I love my small patio garden where I grow flowers and vegetables. I spend any time I can spare reading novels and spending time with friends exploring the amazing city I live in, Washington, DC.
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
You can't do it alone! Find mentors and colleagues that can help you along your way. I have had help from wonderful people along the way who have reviewed my work and applications and been there for me to bounce ideas off of. Without that support network, I never would have made it this far.
How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?
I have followed Nautilus Live for a long time and always wondered how I myself might see ocean exploration first hand. When I saw the opportunity to apply to join the team, I jumped on it immediately!