Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
My job is essentially to assist all different mediums of science during an expedition, which keeps things interesting and challenging. Onboard the research ships, I oversee the maintenance of all lab instrumentation, guide the safe use of chemicals, and help collect, preserve and ship scientific samples. I have worked on projects from plankton to fish, physical oceanography to geology, and penguins to whales.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
Nature fascinates me, in its infinite variety of form and ability. In college, I studied Biology and Art, two distinctly different ways of observing and exploring the natural world. I think those seemingly disparate fields are really two sides of the same coin looking at form, function, and behavior.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
I have had so many wonderful mentors along the way. The memorable teachers I've worked with seemed to recognize that it was curiosity that lead me to science and to art, and encouraged me to continue my passion for both.
What element of your work/research do you think is the most fascinating?
One of the most fascinating things about what I do is hands-down the places I've been able to experience and the people I get to work with.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I have had a diverse career from teaching art to biological fieldwork, to lab technician, to commercial fishing in Alaska, to owning my own business. I think i am driven by curiosity and a silliness to learn.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Science 1998 Bachelor of Art 1998, Mars Hill University. Master of Fine Art 2004; Radford University
What are your hobbies?
I am passionate about mountain biking and fitness. I love gardening, cooking, and art. Recently I just completed my open water dive (SCUBA) certification.
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
You will need a science degree of some sort: biology, earth science chemistry, etc and with a willingness to learn you will be able to pursue so many different opportunities.
How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?
I heard about OET through coworkers in the Antarctic Program who also pilot ROV's on Nautilus. The ROV work sounded incredible and I wanted to be part of such cutting-edge science. When a position for science manager became available i jumped at the chance.