Ripening up I ever adored the ocean. It was where we invested almost every summer vacation, had to be by the beach. My parents told me one time that they discovered me throwing jellyfish back into the ocean because I was trying to save them and I didn’t really understand that they would probably like sting my hands. I cherished being at the aquarium, being at the ocean. I was gonna be a dolphin tutor. I was gonna be a marine biologist. I was gonna save the world countries and save all the sea turtles. In high school I did an internship at a hospital and briefly thought that I wanted to be a physical therapist so I went to college as a physical regiman major and exhaust two years studying, kind of getting a feel for it, and following the adjournment of my second year I broke my weapon and I had to go to physical rehabilitation and that process concluded me realize it was not in fact the right field for me, and in my mettle I think I knew it all along, that I had to go back to biology.So I switched majors and graduated on time, even after swapping, with my bachelor’s in biology. I had two great advisors who helped me line up all my route office and make sure that everything applied where it could. After I graduated I invested the summer offshore of New Hampshire on an island doing being guarding and volunteering at a small marine lab out there. I came home in the come and only started applying to jobs and internships everywhere, wasn’t picky, I time had to find something. And ceased up at Mystic Aquarium in the winter do an internship with their marine animal rescue program, so that was my first taste of working with stranded seals, dolphins, doing necropsies, doing data available, working with swine in rehabilitation that are getting released.After my internship pointed I went back to New Hampshire to work on the island and I finagled the naval laboratory that I had been volunteering at the year before. So we did daily tide reserve treads and education programs with radicals that came to visit, managing their fish tanks and their live animal collection for the summer, which was a lot of merriment, and when I came home I was hired at Mystic full time. So I was an aquarist, which is someone who takes care of the aquarium fish in our cisterns and I was in charge of our ocean turtle, our sharks and our lights, and some of our tropical fish. So I did that for two years, are concerned with our vet staff and our education staff, stirring sure swine were well-fed, well-cared for, healthy.We did education programs with field trip and school groups and summer camp curricula that would come to learn about our swine. VIPs would come and have, you know, a special behind the scenes day and we’d get to take them around and show them all the fun stuff and it was a really great experience but I always knew that I wanted to go back to school and I wanted to keep doing more and to specialising in my environment. After two years of working at the aquarium, I applied to grad school and I was accepted at Duke for my Captain of Environmental Management with a focus in coastal management and it’s a two time platform so I moved down to North Carolina and I did one year at the primary campus in Durham and my second year was at our coastal campus in Beaufort, North Carolina, at their naval laboratory, and in between I got a scholarship to move out to San Francisco for the summer where I ran at the Marine Mammal Center make rehabilitation and naval animal rescue for a couple of hundred miles of the California coastline.So it was a much different scale than working at Mystic in our small-minded little Connecticut and Rhode Island zone, but really fantastic experience working with some top people in our realm. So after I finished my undergraduate degree in 2013, I started applicable in respect of jobs. I had been all of springtime semester and did a couple of interviews and a pair went well and a marry didn’t been going on and they weren’t really going anywhere for me so I stayed in North Carolina and i worked for a prof on a research project and could still only dig deeper into volunteering with marine mammal stranding and necropsies and ocean turtle stranding and was able to work on some sea turtle handouts and satellite tag some turtles and get genuinely valuable hands-on experience through that while also still wielding a little bit and trying to survive and be a brand-new professional working. After a duet months of that, I moved down to Charleston. At that detail I was dating my future husband so we moved down to Charleston together and figured we’d take a stab at a fresh start and I didn’t have much luck getting started down there so I must be given to swallow my pride.I had the option of starting to waitress or starting to work at the South Carolina Aquarium as a highly entry-level position in guest works. I stimulated nine dollars an hour, which is very hard to swallow your pride and come back from grad school and I’m gonna save the world and all of a sudden I’m back in a position that I should have been able done fresh out of college when I didn’t have all this great experience, but I knew I had to be in the field and connected to marine biology somehow so I adhere it out and while I was doing that I was still doing sea turtle garrison before creation and volunteering for their NOAA office on the weekends and whatever I could do to simply maintain my foot in the door somewhere.And after a few months of working at the aquarium, I was interviewed for a position at South Carolina Department of Natural Aid through a contact that I’d met in grad school and I never recalled I’d see him again and bumped into him at a winery at Charleston one day and suddenly reconnected again. So he facilitated me get an interview and I was hired that summer to work for a fishery’s research project so we were doing sampling of the snapper grouper complex in South Caroline offshore waters. So we would go out on a research boat for five days, a few weeks, 10 periods at a time, and fish in these nets that you would deploy 300 or 400 feet deep and we would make fishing operations up, we would set them on ice, and then make samples of their ear bones, of their reproductive organs.We would set everything , observe any surprising species that were there, and returning the information collected back to the biologists who were witnessing how quickly these swine were developing, how well they were reproducing out there, and what the lives of those fisheries was. Especially in marine biology, it is a very small field, even smaller within ocean turtle biologists or marine mammal biologists on the east coast, so so much better of what we do is who you know. On our storey right here I think we have about 10 other beings the hell is alumnus of my measure curriculum at Duke who have same know-hows and similar backgrounds.So so much of what we do involves alumni meets. Since I’ve been here, I’ve make student telephone calls from current students asking how I got here, and I’ve also been on the other end of that, calling graduate and setting up lunches and says here did you get to where you are? How did you do this? How can I do this too? What can I developing and enhancing? Seeing who they know in different municipals and who they know in different fields that are similar and they might have something or they might know somebody else, so so much of what we do is involved in networking and attachments that you build.So while I was in South Carolina, my sweetheart, to-be husband, was offered a position overseas and we talked about it and we decided that it was really exciting and had a lot of potential for him as well as a very promising salary and some benefits that would really help us get going in our future. So he decided to take that and he moved to Egypt, which was not the easiest decision, but in the end it utterly was right for where we were at that time.So I was still in South Carolina and my family is from western Massachusetts so I started thinking about what could I do to be closer to my family while he’s gone. He was planning to be away for 18 months to two years. When I was in grad school I got onto three different listservs, one for a sea turtle biologist, one for naval mammal research and stranding biologists, and one in the DC area that’s called DCMC, the DC Marine Community, and they do occupation postings, internship postings, research papers and clauses that have come out, and that was a huge lead on who’s hiring, what types of positions are out right now, what salaries are being offered right now, who might have something, even really refers of companies to start looking at. And I got an email from a listserv I’m on that said that NOAA’s Protected Resource “re looking for a” new contractor to work on these projects that I was very interested in and categories that I was interested in. So I applied and I did one interrogation and I thought it was just the initial, you are well aware, sorting down your top 10 candidates, and it turns out that was it.I sent it a writing sample and my citations and they called back only perhaps two week ago and said that they made an offer. It was much faster than I expected it to happen, but once all the portions were in motion now I was. I “ve had my” parents come up and look for suites for me because I was still in South Carolina and they’re about two hours away from Gloucester so I sent them a register of things and said, assist me find something. I’ll come home but you know what I need. Here’s my fund. Here’s where I make I is intended to be. I knew I didn’t wanna be in Boston, having a long commute , not knowing too much of what the sphere would be like or what traffic situation would be like, so they picked out an accommodation in Gloucester that was about three miles from the department and then they flew down and my pa drove me back up with our accommodation full of stuff and quitted me off in Gloucester and here we are .( mocks) A lot of contractors do be brought to an end becoming federal employees. It’s just a matter of funding and being in the right place when a position opens up. So I’ve been a contractor for about two and a half years and I’m applying to full experience authority smudges at this level. I’m hoping that in the next year or so some fund will be open in either the protected resources fraction here or down at the science center in Woods Hole or potentially even another NOAA location around the country. Federal hires got a lot of flexibility. They can then move to other regions or other divisions.Sometimes beings move over to Fish and Wildlife Service to work on other genus as well. So once you move further and become a federal work you do have more options that course. Within the government full time employees, there are different pay circles and it’s a complicated process to understand but they’re different ways of being hired at certain ranks that have more promotional possible to them. Each department here has a division head and then there are directors for each of our four crews and then within a squad there are people who are on higher pay ensembles who have worked their highway up through those different cliques who had maybe started as contractors or entry-level biologists and after a couple of years they’ve been able to move up within the system and have heightens and promotional possible that way.Some immense ways to get started planning your vocation as a biologist, you could volunteer at an aquarium or a stranding equipment or an animal care facility to get that hands-on experience. There are a lot of conferences that are about naval mammal health or sea turtle state or stranding. I did a lot of networking with alumni, especially through grad school, because so many of our alumni in our land are employing other alumnus from our planned so it’s a very close-knit radical. So I did a lot of reaching out to alumni and questioning them how they got there and what else I could be doing that they had already done. Joining listservs was a great way to hear about new opportunities and what realms were hiring and what arrangements were the recruitment and what investigate was coming out that I should know about and stay on top of as well as just what discussions or happenings were happening as well that I may be involved in.