DJ Yousavich

DJ Yousavich

Science/Data Team
Graduate Student

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

I research deep sea microbes, particularly in anoxic environments, and try to understand how they evolved, how they modulate the chemistry of the ocean, and if similar microorganisms could live on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

Working in labs in undergrad initially sparked my interest; I worked in a lab that studied algae and the graduate students in that lab were frequently going on cruises and to Antarctica. I gained a passion for the natural laboratory of our environment and wanted to study it.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My coworker Nicole

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

Working with NASA on concepts for a mission to Europa.

What other jobs led to your current career?

I worked for approximately ten years in the healthcare industry, working my way up from retrieving medical records for audits to managing complex claims databases for health equity and marketing purposes. While the work has few transferable skills to my scientific work, it provided the necessary income and taught me several useful data skills.

What are your degrees and certifications?

BA Chemistry and Zoology (Miami University 2010) ; MS Geology (Cal State LA 2018) ; MS Geochemistry (UCLA 2021) ; PhD Geochemistry (UCLA anticipated 2024)

What are your hobbies?

Lifting/exercising ; hiking ; diving ; cooking

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

Always maintain your drive and tenacity and always striving to turn your negatives into positives are the two most important pieces of advice I could give.

Exploring the unknown; X Files was my favorite show as a kid and I’m a way I feel like I’m fulfilling a childhood dream of being Fox Mulder.


DJ participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: