National Park Service
I am primarily responsible for carrying out fieldwork and managing the data associated with long-term water quality monitoring of both estuarine and freshwater systems.
- B.S., Environmental Conservation, University of New Hampshire
- M.S., Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire
$25,000 - $40,000
What is your current job and what does it entail?
I am an aquatic ecology technician for the National Park Service (NPS) at Cape Cod National Seashore. I am primarily responsible for carrying out fieldwork and managing the data associated with long-term water quality monitoring of both estuarine and freshwater systems (www.nps.gov/caco/naturescience/cape-cod-ecosystem-monitoring.htm). In a given year, half of my time is spent in the field collecting environmental data and the other half in the office managing and processing the data.
What was the key factor in your career decision?
I have always enjoyed being in nature and wanted a career in environmental conservation. I pursued a career with the National Park Service because of its commitment to protecting and preserving some of the nation's most precious natural places.
What do like most about your career?
I love learning, and there is no shortage of opportunities to do so in this field.
What do you like least about your career?
Washington politics can be very disruptive to operations.
What do you do to relax?
Watch movies, listen to music and podcasts, hang out at the beach, garden and cook.
What advice would you give a student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field?
While in school, focus on building a strong math and science foundation. Take a lot of math, biology and chemistry courses. Having a strong foundation in these disciplines is essential and will help you excel in college level science courses. Start getting field experience now. Volunteer with an organization conducting ecological monitoring or research near you. This will not only provide real world experience, but is an opportunity to begin to develop and be part of a professional network. I cannot stress how important networking is in this field.
Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why?
Based on my experience with the NPS, permanent year-round positions are decreasing due to budget cuts. Most entry and mid-level technician positions are either seasonal, term and/or subject to furlough.
What will you be doing 10 years from today?
I hope to have a more interdisciplinary role in applying science to natural resource management decision-making.