Jose Cisneros

Jose Cisneros

Seafloor Mapping Intern
The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

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

My name is Jose Cisneros, and I am a NOAA CCME Undergraduate Scholar and a Junior at The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley pursuing a B.S. in Marine Biology with a minor in Environmental Science. I am currently working on my undergraduate project that focuses on the propagation of black coral. During my undergraduate I have been assisting in the research of Benthic Community Dynamics in Bahia Grande as part of a hydrologic restoration project In addition, I was fortunate to work on projects in habitat restoration and population studies. My research truly reflects my passion for safeguarding our coastal ecosystems.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I have always had a love for the ocean and exploration. Growing up in a family that fished and believed in conservation laid the foundation for who I am today. I have always had a curious fascination of marine life and ecosystems. I wasn't able to follow the direct path of going to college after graduating from high school but have always had a passion for community outreach and educating others in stewardship. After many years, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend school full time and follow my dream of becoming a marine biologist.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My mother set the greatest example of commitment to education by encouraging me to work hard, follow my dreams and to never let any obstacles stop me from accomplishing my goals.

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

The most fascinating aspect of my line of study is when I learn something new and feel a sense of inspiration and curiosity that drove me into this career in the first place. Throughout my brief tenure as an undergraduate, I have had the opportunity to go on amazing adventures that include long lining for shark, navigating in rough seas, repairing boats and extinguishing fires.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

I learned about Ocean Exploration Trust with the guidance of my mentor Dr. David Hicks through the NOAA CCME program.

What other jobs led to your current career?

I have had the opportunity to be a part of an internship opportunity through Texas Parks and Wildlife coastal fisheries division that allowed me to realize how a career could be very fulfilling and enjoyable. Prior to that I did volunteer work with the NOAA CCME program graduate students that gave me experience in research.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Pursuing a bachelor's in marine biology and a minor in Environmental Science

What are your hobbies?

I love to travel as long as I can take my fishing gear with me. During the season I enjoy rifle and archery hunting as well as camping and hiking. Exploring new places is a hobby I have come to enjoy.

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

First and foremost, it is NEVER too late to go back to school. Jobs come and go but your education stays with you. Surrounding yourself with the people you aspire to be will drive your own success. Before making the decision to go into marine biology I would recommend volunteering in the community with events that align with your career interest to give you insight on whether it is right for you. It is also important to develop problem solving skills not just in the critical thinking aspect but also being the jack of all trades be the "go to" person in your research team.


Jose participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: