Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
My current work in graduate school is focused on the Chemical Characterization of plastic pollution from coastal areas. We identify the plastic polymers that are associated with plastic that have not been recycled properly on the coast. We had samples from Alaska, Hawaii and New Jersey Beaches. I specialize in the use of instruments such as GC-MS & Raman Spectrometry dealing with data analysis. I hope to use these skills to help me grow further into the profession of Environmental Science.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I always wanted to pursue a career in science. My undergraduate degree was in Chemistry and I decided to merge my chemistry background with Environmental Science. As an environmental science student, the emerging topic of microplastics continued to grow as a concern for our species in the aquatic system. So, I decided to pursue research looking to shrink knowledge gaps of what are some plastic produce from and why do those chemicals harm species. Less than ten percent of plastic is disposed of properly and that production numbers are getting larger. Hopefully, we can find a management practice to help with the disposal of plastics.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My undergrad research professor, She kind of just threw me in the lab and taught me how to maneuver as a scientist. She opened my eyes and showed me that I needed to pursue a career in Science.
What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?
The most fascinating thing that has come from my research is finding the different additives associated with different plastics and the Persistent Organic Pollutants that become adsorbed unto the plastics.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I haven't had many jobs but being a NOAA scholar has set me up with continuous opportunities to meet and work with established scientists as an Intern. They have led me to be almost finished with my M.S. degree and to continue my education by pursuing a Ph.D.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (ACS Certified) - Florida A&M University 2016
What are your hobbies?
I like going to sporting events, Playing the tuba and cooking for friend and family.
How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?
My NOAA Center reached out to me to apply for the SEIP seafloor mapping intern position and I thought of it as a great opportunity to learn about ocean mapping and enhance my future work
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
If you want to pursue a career in Environmental science try to learn all of the aspects of the field. Work hard to soak in all of the knowledge that will be bestowed upon while you pursue this profession. Lastly, look within yourself and let yourself know that you can exceed in the field and that you will do all it takes to better your future and the future of the next generation of environmental scientists. Learn more about Nigel.