Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
I work with sanctuary sites and partners to create opportunities for research that supports national marine sanctuary management. I also work to share sanctuary science with researchers and the public through written reports, including the National Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series. My goal is to support, facilitate, and aid in communicating science that can be used to protect and restore our special ocean and Great Lakes places.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I grew up in southeastern Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes, and also frequently spent time with family in the Florida Keys while growing up. I loved spending hours on and in the water, observing aquatic wildlife. As I learned more about the threats facing these species and ecosystems, I was inspired to pursue formal education so I could build a career focused on marine conservation.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
I am very lucky to have a family that has always been incredibly supportive of my educational and career goals. I have also been consistently inspired and encouraged by many coworkers, labmates, and mentors throughout my career.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I have worked in the U.S. and abroad for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions, all of which have provided unique experiences that led me to my current career. Most recently, I was a 2019 Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, which was my first introduction to working with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
What are your degrees and certifications?
B.S., Biology, University of Michigan
M.P.S., Marine Biology and Fisheries, University of Miami/RSMAS
Ph.D., Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy walking/hiking, yoga, and traveling when I can. I also love cooking and trying new recipes. I recently started gardening and am looking forward to growing my own vegetables to use in the kitchen.
How did you get involved with the TBNMS project with OET?
Part of my role as Science and Heritage Coordinator with NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is to work with partners to create opportunities for projects like this one that will inform sanctuary management while also connecting to the public through live events. While I am normally involved in these expeditions remotely, I am thrilled to be able to support this expedition in person at TBNMS!
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
My advice is to gain the widest diversity of experiences you can and not be afraid to try new things. Throughout my career, I have designed and implemented my own research, supported the work of others, written for and given presentations to many different types of audiences, managed budgets, mentored students, and much, much more. A wide variety of experiences will help someone who wants to pursue a career in science to build a robust skillset that will make them well-suited to a broad range of career paths.