What is your current job and what does it entail?
As communications manager of the Alaska Sea Grant College Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I assess public information needs pertaining to coastal and ocean resources and work with university faculty, my four-member staff of communications professionals, and others to decide what kind of information needs to be provided to our audiences. We produce books, pamphlets, newspaper and magazine articles, fact sheets, videos/DVDs, Web sites, a radio program, exhibits, presentations and public events -- all aimed at sharing knowledge that will promote conservation and wise use of the seas.
What was the key factor in your career decision?
What do like most about your career?
In returning to college at age 30 after a decade in private business, I decided I wanted to hone my creative talents -- writing, photography and art -- and apply those skills with my business sense in a career that would promote wise stewardship of our natural environment.
I get great satisfaction knowing I've found a career that allows me to combine my conservation ethic, empathy for challenges business people face, and creative skills in a way that contributes to using and maintaining the integrity of our marine environment. Plus, it's great working with such talented and creative coworkers.
What do you like least about your career?
The day-to-day demands of managing a communications program prevent me from devoting as much time and effort as I would like to the hands-on creative aspects of communications, such as writing, photography, multi-media production and graphic design.
What do you do to relax?
I'm addicted to music with a special affinity for swinging jump blues. I'm an avid student of ballroom and swing dancing, and like to play golf, shoot hoops and throw the football. I also like to photograph the many interesting locales I visit. I enjoy carpentry and landscaping, and read a lot -- news magazines, newspapers and novels.
Who are your heroes/heroines?
What advice would you give a high school student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field?
My only real hero is my father, a steadfast man of great character who, after surviving the perils of World War II as a decorated fighter pilot, teamed with my mother to build the house I grew up in, provide a stable and supportive environment for me and my four sisters, and instill a strong work ethic and social values.
Identify your skills and your interests, then search out an educational path that will lead you to a career that taps your unique combination of skills and interests.
Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why?
As long as people are concerned about conserving our marine environment, there will be a need for highly trained and motivated professional environmental communicators who can synthesize, translate and disseminate important information about marine resources and the effects of human activity on these resources. But many people want jobs as professional communicators in the field of marine resources, so the better prepared you are, the better your chances are to find a good job in this field. Building practical experience and contacts via internships is a good way to get a leg up on the competition.
What will you be doing 10 years from today?
I expect I will be a communicator or educator in the field of natural resources, or perhaps teaching others how to become effective communicators. I might be into publishing my own line of books or producing videos on natural history subjects. And knees permitting, I'll still be dancing to the music!
Salary:$40,000 - $60,000