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Meet Vivian Matter, Data Analysis and Assessment Support Branch Chief

December 02, 2021

Part of the Faces of the Southeast Fisheries Science Center series.

Vivian Matter visiting the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Puerto Rico. Vivian Matter visiting the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of Vivian Matter.

Where did you grow up? 

I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. I grew up with my three older sisters enjoying trips to the beach, big family parties, and playing sports. 

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Staff with supplies collected for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria.
Science center staff organized a collection for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria devastated the islands in 2017. From left to right, Adyan Rios, Sonia Prevo (retired), Vivian, and Trika Gerard. Photo courtesy of Vivian Matter.

Where did you go to school and in what subject did you get your degree(s)?

I went to the University of Miami for both undergraduate and graduate school and earned degrees in Marine Affairs and Policy. It is an interdisciplinary course of study, which examines the relationship between humans and the marine environment to more effectively manage and conserve marine and coastal resources. While at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, I was awarded a NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative fellowship.

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Vivian Matter running across the finish line during a half marathon.
Vivian crossing the finish line at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2021. Photo Courtesy of Vivian Matter.

How did you come to work at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center?

After graduate school, I worked as a contractor at NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey in Silver Spring, Maryland. I worked on a multi-year project to create digital maritime limits and boundaries using GIS technology. I moved back to South Florida in 2004 and was hired as a full-time employee at the science center working on recreational fisheries data.

What do you do at the science center?

I worked for 16 years integrating recreational data from various surveys and data collection programs used for assessments and management in the Southeast. I recently became chief of the new Data Analysis and Assessment Support branch in the Sustainable Fisheries Division. Our branch provides analytical data products used in stock assessments in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.

Congratulations on your recent Silver Sherman award! For what were you recognized? 

I was the recipient of the 2020 Silver Sherman award for the Southeast Fisheries Science Center. I was recognized for “extraordinary efforts to navigate numerous and controversial changes in federal and state recreational fishing surveys to provide timely and accurate statistics in support of annual catch limit monitoring and stock assessments.” 

Silver Sherman Award

In the fall of 2015, the NOAA Under Secretary initiated an internal honorary award known as the Silver Sherman Award. The award recognizes employees who go above and beyond their normal responsibilities to help:

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NOAA Silver Sherman image
NOAA Silver Sherman, an internal honorary award.
  • Fulfill NOAA’s mission
  • Achieve a milestone that contributes significantly or critically toward a particular program goal
  • Demonstrate leadership toward process improvement of a significant magnitude

Each member of the Senior Executive Service may recognize one person per year with the Silver Sherman.

What do you like most about your position?

What I enjoy most is collaborating with my colleagues to meet our mission of providing the scientific advice and data needed to effectively manage the living marine resources in our region. I feel grateful to have such highly dedicated staff working together to support stock assessments and improve data provision.

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Vivian matter and her family.
Vivian and her family enjoying the Fourth of July at Indian Lake in Michigan (2021). Photo courtesy of Vivian Matter.

What do you like to do outside of work?

My husband, Jason, and I have two kids, Alicia and Brandon. As a family we enjoy camping, entertaining, going to Florida Panther games, cruising, and spending time with our extended families. I started playing beach volleyball again this year, which has been a lot of fun, especially after I gained my overhand serve back and figured out all the volleyball rules that have changed since I last played in high school. I’m not sure I “like” to run but I’ve been known to run on occasion. 

Contact Vivian Matter 

Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on December 02, 2021