Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
I work on resource protection and permitting issues for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Resource protection covers a wide variety of topics, from climate change and ocean acidification to oil spill planning, vessel traffic monitoring, vessel discharges, wildlife disturbance, and maritime heritage resources.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
My interest in marine ecology and policy was driven by wanting to have sound-science inform management and policy decisions, especially as they pertain to marine protected areas. My research career began in Monterey Bay, working with remotely operated vehicles to assess the habitats and species within the national marine sanctuary and newly designated state marine protected areas.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My undergraduate advisor encouraged me the most. I started out as a research assistant in his lab and was encouraged to pursue scholarships and graduate school. I was the first in my family to complete college and had previously never considered graduate school until he encouraged me to do so.
What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?
The most fascinating element of my work is getting to work across all aspects of sanctuaries (deep-sea research, permitting, consultations) and the strong community that exists on the Olympic Coast.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I started my career conducting research with national marine sanctuaries as an undergraduate and graduate student, completing my masters with Olympic Coast. After school, I was a Washington Sea Grant Hershman Marine Fellow at the Nature Conservancy, focused on ocean policy and marine spatial planning. It was during my fellowship that I began working with the coastal treaty tribes. The Makah Tribe hired me as a natural resource policy analyst, where I worked for 6 years.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy - California State University Monterey Bay; Masters of Science in Environmental Science - Washington State University
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy hiking with my dog, baking, gardening, and am attempting to learn how to sew!
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
There are so many facets to a career in marine science, find what you are passionate about and apply to as many opportunities (research, grants, internships, fellowships) as you can to gain a variety of experience and develop a strong network.