In a weird way, my experience with SFS Turks and Caicos hinted at the unexpected path my career would take…First off, I wasn’t even supposed to be there!
SFS PROGRAM: Marine Resource Studies | Turks and Caicos Islands | Fall 2009
HOME SCHOOL WHILE AT SFS: Dickinson College
CURRENT POSITION: Director of Public Affairs, National Geographic Pristine Seas
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SFS MEMORY?
Lionfish research! I remember spending hours in the water hunting for lionfish, trying to identify their habitat preferences and diet around the South Caicos. At first it felt like a hopeless task — very little was known about their local ecological preferences, but by the end we started to see real trends in their presence and behavior. Being part of a research project with real management impacts was fascinating!
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?
Alongside a team of explorers, scientists and filmmakers, I work to explore, document and protect the last wild places in the ocean.
WHAT DID YOU GAIN FROM YOUR TIME AT SFS?
In a weird way, my experience with SFS Turks and Caicos hinted at the unexpected path my career would take. First off, I wasn’t even supposed to be there! I was originally accepted to the Baja program but Hurricane Jimena caused serious flooding in Mexico, thus delaying the semester to the point where I couldn’t go.
As a result, at the last minute I switched to the Turks program (and immediately went out to buy snorkel gear!). Living in the Caribbean gave me an appreciation for the challenges faced by island communities around the world. Fast forward six years and I (again unexpectedly) started working with National Geographic Pristine Seas, a program dedicated to establishing marine reserves in the ocean’s last wild places. In this job, I’ve used the understanding that SFS gave me to work with island communities around the world.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT?
If you choose to go, be where your feet are.
RECOMMEND A GREAT BOOK OR FILM THAT HAD AN INFLUENCE ON HOW YOU VIEW THE ENVIRONMENT>
E.O. Wilson’s “Half Earth.” It’s a critical call to action for all conservationists to raise the level of their ambition.
DESCRIBE A FAVORITE SPOT IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS FOR EXPLORING OR REFLECTION.
There’s no place in the world like the Wind River Wilderness!