Please include details about your educational background and what sparked your interest in atmospheric or related sciences.
I grew up in Southern California and fell in love with the ocean while surfing and swimming. How the weather influenced ocean waves fascinated me, and I wanted to study oceanography and meteorology ever since. That led me to the U.S. Naval Academy where I studied both earning a BS. I then earned MS and PhD degrees at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and served in the Navy as a Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Officer.
What was your first job in the field and how did you end up in the job you are in now?
My first oceanographic job was on the USNS Harkness which mapped the Arabian Gulf and produced nautical charts for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. My first meteorological job was forecasting weather in Spain for the U.S. 6th Fleet. Over 32 years, I served on ships and submarines operating all over the world where I provided critical weather and ocean information to keep Navy operations safe and effective. I retired as the Oceanographer of the Navy, and then served as the Acting and Deputy Administrator of NOAA. Now I am a consultant for weather and ocean tech companies and serve as a Federal SES Coach and Mentor.
What opportunities did you pursue that you knew would be beneficial to securing a job in the profession?
Undergraduate and graduate education at the Naval Academy and Scripps. Both experiences had at sea research and training opportunities that were highly beneficial.
What other courses/skills beyond the required math and science courses do you think would be the most helpful to individuals wanting a career in your profession?
Communication, public speaking, and creative writing.
What is your typical day on the job like?
I meet with my clients, attend their technology demonstrations, meet with their investors and potential customers, and attend professional and trade conferences worldwide.
What do you like most about your job? What is the most challenging thing about your job?
As a technology consultant, I like to learn about and promote the tremendous innovation happening in the private sector.
Does your job allow for a good work/life balance? If not, why?
Yes, because I set my own schedule as a consultant.
Over the course of your career what is the most exciting thing that has happened to you?
There is not just one! Here's four:
1) In October of 2001, my ship USS KITTY HAWK conducted the first strikes into Afghanistan after 9/11 . Weather affected all of our planning.
2) In March of 2016, I observed the submarine USS New Hampshire surface through the sea ice of the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic.
3) In August of 2016, I did this: https://nautiluslive.org/blog/2016/08/24/exploring-our-past-and-forging-our-future.
4) In March 2018, I witnessed the launch of NOAA's GOES-S satellite.
5) Scuba diving with NOAA divers on coral reefs in Hawaii, shipwrecks in Lake Huron, and the wreck of the German U-boat U-352 off North Carolina.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently in your career?
No, and I am thankful for every opportunity and every person that carried me along the way.
What are some "must haves" on a resume if a person wants to gain employment in your field?
Education, curiosity, and passion!