Where did you grow up?
I grew up living outside of Reno, Nevada. I later moved just north of Los Angeles, California. I lived all over southern California until moving to the Gulf Coast in 2018.
Where did you go to school and in what subject did you get your degree(s)?
I received my Bachelor of Science from California State University Long Beach where I majored in Marine Biology. I had the opportunity to participate in different research labs as well as a semester on Catalina Island. I also worked for an environmental consulting firm through the programs at the university. I then went on to get my Master of Science in Biology at California State University Northridge. I did my thesis work on the genetic population structure of a recreationally important fish species, the barred sand bass.
How did you come to work at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center?
I worked several different jobs between graduate school and working at the science center. I worked as an Adjunct Professor in Biology at a community college. I also worked as an after school educator in science for elementary aged children. My job prior to coming to the southeast center was at the Legoland California Resort Sea Life Aquarium. I got to educate the public about marine life as well as gain some experience running the daily operations of the public-facing side of the aquarium. I love sharing my knowledge and passion about marine life with anyone and everyone who will listen.
What do you do at the science center?
I am Senior Research Associate for the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies. I work in the Marine Mammal Molecular Genetics Laboratory as a lab technician. We use various genetics techniques to answer questions about marine mammals in the western north Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. I am responsible for maintaining the samples received from various partners as well as working on multiple research projects. As part of those projects I perform DNA extractions, amplifications, and analysis using different types of molecular markers.
What do you like most about your position?
I love working in the laboratory environment and exploring what DNA can show us about an individual, population, species, and between species. It is a fascinating and growing field and I am happy to be a part of it.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy doing a variety of crafting and sewing in my free time. I picked up quilting in 2020 and have been growing my sewing skills and love trying new techniques. I also enjoy being outside in nature and near the water if possible. I grew up near lakes and the ocean and love to spend time in the water when I can.