As a microbiologist for NOAA Fisheries National Seafood Inspection Laboratory, most of what I do is test seafood byproducts for Salmonella and other disease-causing bacteria. The most common product we test is fish meal, but we also get samples of bone meal and krill meal through NOAA Fisheries’ Seafood Inspection Program. Seafood byproducts are a good source of protein and other nutrients, so they are used in aquaculture and livestock feed, pet food, and fertilizer. Additionally, places like the European Union will only accept seafood byproduct imports if we certify that product meets import/export regulations.
I have a Bachelor’s of Science from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and a Master’s of Science from Auburn University in Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Allied Sciences. I grew up on the beach in New Jersey. I spent most summers in the ocean bodyboarding and climbing jetties with a net in my hand. I currently play on several slow pitch softball teams in my area.
When it comes to the biggest influences in my life I would say that there is not one person that influenced me, but many. I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by teachers, coaches, family, and mentors who were hard working and passionate about their careers. Their passion for the environment and education has made me driven and inspired me to be who I am today.
Being a career civil servant means that I am able to keep consumers safe and to assist this industry in moving forward with science-based information. I would advise today's youth interested in a federal government career to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them, get involved in whatever makes them passionate, volunteer when possible, and work hard.