Kevin McAllister
Marine Biology

A.A.S., Natural Resources Conservation, State Univ. of New York at Morrisville
B.A., Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University
M.S., Coastal Zone Management, Nova Southeastern University

What is your current job and what does it entail?
My job title is executive director and baykeeper for Peconic Baykeeper, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and sustaining the Peconic and South Shore estuarine systems on Long Island. Although I have diverse management responsibilities in running the organization, my principal role is as the baykeeper, serving the community as their advocate for the bay. My work day can include on-water patrolling, appearing before elected officials to promote a clean water initiative, in the field conducting a biological assessment at a proposed development site, or speaking on an issue at a community meeting. And, a whole lot more.

What was the key factor in your career decision?
As a child growing up a block from the bay, I spent countless hours fishing, crabbing, clamming or just wandering the shoreline. Having fostered a keen sense of appreciation and respect for the natural environment at a very early age, I knew my calling was to work as a guardian of these resources.

What do like most about your career?
Being in a position that allows me to act as a candid and forthright voice for the natural environment I care deeply about. Also, spending time on the water or traipsing through a salt marsh isn't a bad way to spend a work day.

What do you like least about your career?
The politics and hidden agendas that often compromise the integrity of the decision- making process when considering economic interests versus environmental protection.

What do you do to relax?
I find outdoor recreation very relaxing, particularly when it involves water sports: rowing, surfing, kayaking, swimming, etc. These activities are particularly relaxing when I am sharing them with my young son.

Who are your heroes/heroines?
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for his commitment to protecting our nation's waterways and Rachael Carson for demonstrating great courage in speaking out about the threat of pesticides in the environment in spite of the corporate reprisals.

What advice would you give a high school student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field?
Professional careers in the marine sciences can be very competitive, so begin early by volunteering with private organizations and other potential employers to gain some practical experience. Pursue your college education to a higher level. Most importantly, enter the field for all the right reasons, staying true to yourself and your passion for the this type of career.

Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why?
With increasing use and pressure on our marine waters, I would have to think career opportunities are on the rise. When you know in your heart this is the type of work you would like to pursue, commit yourself to obtaining the relevant education, become involved as a volunteer and you'll create your opportunities.

What will you be doing 10 years from today?
Although my job can be very stressful at times, it's also immensely rewarding. I truly believe I've found my career end and I'd like to remain the baykeeper for many years to come.

Salary:$60,000 - $80,000

© 2007 WHOI Sea Grant Program and NH Sea Grant Program
Control Panel