Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of global food supply and there are very few people working to manage genetic resources globally.
- B.S., Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK
- M.S., Animal Breeding, University of Edinburgh, UK
- Ph.D., Aquaculture Genetics, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK
What is your current job and what does it entail?
Across the globe people are in the process of domesticating fish species for farming (aquaculture), as we did centuries ago with land animals (cows, chickens, pigs). I am the breeding research manager at the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and my job is to design and manage a selective breeding program for native oyster. I work to develop high performing lines (breeds) of oysters that optimize the profitability of oyster farmers.
What was the key factor in your career decision?
My interest in selective breeding, farming, fascination with the domestication process and the potential impact it can have on global food supply.
What do like most about your career?
The fact that I am domesticating new species and working to improve the livelihoods of people by applying my skills and knowledge.
What do you like least about your career?
The red tape the often surrounds members of the academic environment.
What do you do to relax?
I exercise, play guitar and cook.
Who are your heroes/heroines?
What advice would you give a student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field?
I would say that it is a great idea. Pay attention in class. Do your homework. Be consistent. Work hard -- "Genius is 99% perspiration" -- it's not really about how bright you are, it's about how hard you work. Go to a good school.
Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why?
They are increasing. Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of global food supply and there are very few people working to manage genetic resources globally.
What will you be doing 10 years from today?
Hopefully enjoying ferrying my children around, cooking dishes better, shredding my electric guitar and breeding different aquaculture species on several continents.