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Meet Kristin O'Brien, Program Support Specialist for the Office of Habitat Conservation

June 13, 2022

Kristin reflects on her career as a program support specialist, her influences, and what Pride Month means to her.

Kristin is a white person looking up at the camera smiling with short reddish brown hair wearing a bright pink sweater with a background of yellow leafy bushes and green foliage at the United States Botanical Garden. Kristin at the United States Botanical Garden. Courtesy: Kristin O'Brien

What is your key responsibility? 

I do cost documentation for the Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program and the Deepwater Horizon program.

Where did you grow up?  

I grew up in Fremont, Michigan.

Is there anything about your childhood or where you grew up that influenced your career path?

My childhood home was in the middle of the Manistee National Forest. Growing up in a forest next to Lake Michigan gave me a great love and passion for environmental protection and conservation.

What is your educational background?

I have a Bachelors in International Relations from Central Michigan University.

Are you a member of a community groups or other organizations? I regularly volunteer with the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Mutual Aid Society and Alateen.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I'm a comedian and playwright outside of the office. I'm currently producing and directing a new play I wrote that will be at Woolly Mammoth theater in late July.

Is there a book, quote, or person that influenced you to be the person that you are today? 

My grandfather was my greatest influence. He loved and accepted me for who I was since I was a child. He talked to me like a peer even when I was a child. When I was 9 or 10 years old we started to watch the news together and discuss it regularly. When I would get mad about something happening in current events, he would say that I could work to change it. He helped me set up a bake sale during our community yard sale days to raise money for AIDS research. It was the first time I felt like I was contributing something positive to the world. He was the person who always encouraged me to pursue a life of government service.

What does working at NOAA Fisheries mean to you?

It is the continuing pursuit of positive contribution. It is brilliant to see my office work on Muskegon Lake—near my hometown—and see it improve during my service with NOAA that it is going to be taken off the list of Areas of Concern. It makes me so proud to work for NOAA.

What does this affinity month mean to you?

Growing up in a small rural town, I never really felt like I fit in and I had to hide parts of who I was until I left. During Pride Month, I am reminded that now I can be my whole self—not only that—that it is celebrated!

Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on June 16, 2022

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