Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Suffield, Connecticut, which is in the northern part of the state along the Massachusetts border. It was a very quiet town at the time and is nowhere near the ocean. My father is a scuba diver and avid fisherman, so when I was very young we would rent a house for a week in the summer on Martha’s Vineyard. My parents eventually ended up buying a house on the island in the early 1980s which they owned for about 20 years. As a result, my four older brothers and I were lucky enough to spend a lot of time in and on the water growing up. We did a lot of fishing, and my father and oldest brother introduced me to scuba diving. I became a certified “junior” diver when I was 12 years old. I found that I really enjoyed the peace and quiet of being underwater, likely because it allowed me to briefly escape torment by my older brothers—just kidding, my brothers are great!
I think I was about 12 or 13 when I learned that I could make a career out of working on the ocean. I decided that I wanted to study fish and/or the ocean in college. When I turned 18, I went to dive school to become an instructor so I could teach diving during the summer.
Where did you go to school and what subject did you get your degree(s) in?
I went to Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where I studied fisheries biology. I moved back to the East Coast after I graduated and got my masters degree at the University of Massachusetts School of Marine Science and Technology in Dartmouth through the NOAA Advanced Studies Program.
As part of my graduate studies, I wanted to determine if there was variation in some of the physical features of scup within the management area between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. In a previous study, we found that scup sampled from Cape Cod had a slightly different shape than those sampled off the coast of Georgia. I wanted to identify where changes started because it can be an indicator of multiple stocks. If multiple stocks exist within a management area, managers may decide to manage each one differently.