What made you chose ECU?
The outstanding faculty and academic opportunities in my PhD program, program support, and proximity to the coastal environment for research. My research adviser, Dr. Roger Rulifson, helped me narrow down a research topic based on my interests and allowed me to do what I wanted to for my dissertation. We had positive feedback from granting agencies before I started, so the prognosis for institutional support of my project was excellent. He was also my thesis advisor for my master’s degree, and I knew I had a lot more to learn from him.
What are some of the things you are proud of at ECU?
I am proud of the coastal resources management program and the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy. The students and faculty are some of the smartest and kindest people I know, and these programs provide amazing support for students. I also realized how fortunate I was to be part of these programs when I interviewed in Washington, D.C. for the Knauss Fellowship. Many of the folks that I interviewed with were impressed with the depth and scope of the academics and research that I completed in the CRM program. ECU has a solid name and reputation among the administrators at NOAA.
I am also proud of the local reputation of ECU with the local fishing community is outstanding, because many of the fishermen send their sons and daughters to ECU.
What would you tell a prospective student about ECU?
Do not be afraid to talk to people. We are overly reliant on e-mail to make connections, and you get so much more done when you actually go find someone in person or pick up the phone.
Also, if you have an idea of what you are interested in doing with your life, find a way to volunteer in a lab or with a program to give you experience and connections.
Is there anything else you think people should know about you?
I was very fortunate to be selected to represent North Carolina as a Dean John A. Knauss Fellow in Washington, D.C. from February 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012. The fellowship matches participants with a legislative or executive host for a year. This fellowship provides outstanding opportunities to see how marine policy is developed and implemented at high administrative levels, and provides amazing networking opportunities. I will be a “fishery management specialist” with the Highly Migratory Species Division of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries in NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). I will assist with policy development and management of migratory, domestic stocks of sharks, billfish, and tuna.