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Meet Natalie McLenaghan, Marine Habitat Resource Specialist with the Office of Habitat Conservation

June 13, 2022

Natalie reflects on her career as a Marine Habitat Resource Specialist for the Office of Habitat Conservation's Restoration Center, her influences, and what Pride Month means to her.

Natalie McLenaghan

What is your key responsibility?  

I serve as a Federal Program Officer and a Competition Manager for coastal habitat restoration and resilience grants.

Where did you grow up?  

I was born and raised in the tiny village of Windsor, NY, along the banks of the Susquehanna River.

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

Natalie McLenaghan
Natalie berry-picking at Butler's Orchard near Germantown, MD

Growing up along the Susquehanna River, I developed a fondness for collecting fossils and crayfish out of local streambeds at a very early age. Forty years later, these are still my favorite activities to engage in whenever I visit my hometown.

What is your educational background?

I was a geology major as an undergraduate, and I studied environmental and marine sciences in graduate school.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I am a self-identified Cat Lady, and I also love arts and crafts. Most evenings, you can find me stitching along on my 1950s Singer sewing machine, listening to podcasts and audiobooks with my kitties by my side. I like to balance out my indoor hobbies with time spent outside on the woodsy trails of Rock Creek Park. A few months after the pandemic started, I bought myself a pair of rollerblades with light-up wheels, as well as a Bluetooth-enabled, rainbow tie-dyed fannypack. On warm days, you can find me rolling through Rock Creek with some 90s hip-hop jams blaring from my speakers.

Natalie McLenaghan
Natalie overlooking the marsh at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, near Cambridge, MD

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

My mom! She is a true Dancing Queen, and I aspire to someday be as fun and amazing as she is.

What does working at NOAA Fisheries mean to you?

I take a lot of pride (pun intended) in working at NOAA Fisheries, in an office that restores habitat for threatened and endangered species and builds resilience in coastal communities. I find the work to be meaningful and it provides a sense of purpose.

Natalie McLenaghan
Natalie rollerblading through Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.

What advice would you have for someone interested in a career at NOAA Fisheries?

Apply for internships, fellowships, and/or volunteer opportunities hosted by or affiliated with NOAA. If you are an undergraduate or a graduate student, ask your department about organizing career networking events or an alumni series that includes people who work in government service or another public sector. 


Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on June 14, 2022

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