As the lead chemist for the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory, I coordinate and oversee projects and the analyses of chemical and toxic biological contaminants. My main tasks include providing technical support and guidance to chemists as well as justification for new chemistry projects, methods, and protocols. I work closely with our purchasing officer in generating contracts for chemistry equipment and services. I review and rate technical NOAA Small Business Innovation Research grants. I’ve worked as a chemist and in laboratory-related assignments for around 30 years—14 years at the lab. I have seen important advancements in analytical testing during that time. I enjoy working with and learning software algorithms as well.
I grew up in El Paso, Texas where my father served in the Air Force and later served with NASA under the Mercury, Gemini, Saturn, and Apollo Space Programs. My family later moved to Slidell, Louisiana and to Picayune, Mississippi. My father was stationed at NASA's Mississippi Test Facility, now known as Stennis Space Center.
I received my Bachelor of Science in Geology with minors in Chemistry, Physics, and Biology from the University of South Alabama. I earned a Master of Science in Environmental Chemistry, Coastal Sciences, from the University of Southern Mississippi. I have more than two years of post-Masters' work toward a Ph.D. in Remote Sensing and Physics. I also partnered at Stennis Space Center as a NASA Fellowship Doctorate Award Program recipient in 2005.
Some notable organizations that I participate in are scientific groups such as the American Association of Analytical Communities and the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.
Outside of work, I like drawing, painting, and writing stories to help inspire others. I also love animals and enjoy horseback riding. I enjoy watching anything on YouTube that explains a mechanical, chemical or electrical process … and science documentaries are great! I also love to help strangers in small ways to make a difference in their lives.
I’m a member of a local Presbyterian church and am active in my congregation. I’ve volunteered for projects to aid local homeless veterans, among other volunteer work. The book that has most influenced me and comforted me in troubled situations (mostly of my own creation) is the Bible. I believe that the Bible is wonderful for the good times as well.
My advice for today’s youth interested in a federal government career is to find something that you love to do … that you would do even without pay. Then research federal government positions to see if there is something available that will fit what you love to do. Given the vastness of our career venues, you should be able to find something that aligns with your interests. Once you find it, pursue that venue and you will be on your way to a very successful and enjoyable federal career.