What is your current job and what does it entail?
I supervise the Endangered Species Branch of the Protected Resources Division at the Northeast Regional Office (NER) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Gloucester, Mass. I am responsible for directing a program within the NER that works to recover and restore species listed under the Endangered Species Act or species that are currently at risk. The Endangered Species group responds to petitions to list new species under the Endangered Species Act and facilitate the recovery of existing listed species such as Atlantic salmon, shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon. We also work to proactively conserve species at risk so that listing under the Endangered Species Act may not be necessary in the future.
What was the key factor in your career decision?
What do like most about your career?
I have had a lifelong interest in the marine environment, particularly in regard to the life history, population dynamics and conservation of sharks. My job provides me with the opportunity to be involved in the conservation and recovery of many different marine species, including some species of sharks.
There is a great deal of variety in my job so it is never boring. I have had the opportunity to focus on diadromous species issues; respond to petitions to list oysters, eels, winter flounder, sturgeon, river herring, and Atlantic Bluefin tuna; as well as strive to implement proactive conservation efforts for various species of fish from Atlantic halibut to dusky sharks.
What do you like least about your career?
My job is primarily a desk job. At times, I miss being able to go out in the field and conduct research.
What do you do to relax?
I love spending time with my husband and two children. We like being outdoors – swimming, hiking, kayaking, cross country and downhill skiing and sledding. I also enjoy reading a good book.
Who are your heroes/heroines?
What advice would you give a high school student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field?
When I was young, I read the Shark Lady, which was about the life and career of Dr. Eugenie Clark. Dr. Clark has had a fascinating career as a shark researcher and has helped to pave the way for women in this field. As such, I have always considered her to be one of my heroines.
There are so many possible career paths for people interested in marine science. As such, I recommend that students explore the different opportunities available and volunteer or obtain a summer job where they will gain practical experience in their field of interest.
Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why?
It's hard to say, but most likely decreasing. Job opportunities are contingent on the current budget situation, and recently, our budget has been decreasing.
What will you be doing 10 years from today?
I hope to be doing something similar to what I am doing now as I believe that trying to be proactive rather than reactive is essential to the long-term goal of the conservation of marine species.