My name is Nichole Nigrin I have been working as a NEFOP observer for 5 years now which is hard to believe but I love the work that I get to do. I grew up on a small farm outside of Bismarck, ND and never intended to leave but life had other plans and I have been so grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had. I graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology. The plan was to get a job for the state working for the Soil Conservation department but after college I had a wild hair and decided to move out to Portland, Oregon. I lived out there for 5 years working as a medical research assistant in the Oregon Health and Science University’s Women’s Health Department with a focus in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. I enjoyed my time there but decided the city life was not for me and I began looking for new job opportunities. I began working for MRAG Americas as the last class in 2017 and then transferred to AIS Inc when they won the contract in 2018. I am homeported out of a small fishing village in North Carolina called Wanchese and have absolutely fallen in love with the beauty of the natural landscape here and the kind-heartedness of the residents who have become my neighbors. I have had a complicated relationship with the observer program mostly loving it but with anything it is far from perfect. However, the work that we do is vital to the sustainability of the fisheries and the experiences that I have had at sea are un-paralleled. I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else at this point in my life. For every bad day at sea or on land all it takes is that one early morning ride out on a small NC gillnet boat and seeing the sunrise coming over the horizon and then it is clear that this is what home feels like.