Track: Marine Affairs and Policy
Graduated: December 2014
What is your current job and main responsibilities?
I work at FishWise, a nonprofit based in Santa Cruz, California that helps retailers and business, such as Safeway and Target, market sustainably sourced seafood. I am the Project Manager in the traceability division, and we help retailers and business meet their traceability in their supply chain. We run risk assessments based on the products they currently sell, and rather then telling them what to source, the findings from our risk assessments help business understand if they have high-risk products (based on where sourced, if stocks are endangered etc.); and in that case, we deliver alternative recommendations. FishWise makes and important impact on the seafood industry by helping retailers, who are committed to sustainability, transfer over to sustainable sources, and we help set them up with actionable and achievable goals. In addition to large corporations, we are also getting a lot of local partners and independent retailers.
Tell us about your MPS internship
I did my MPS internship at a small nonprofit called The Marine Conservation Institute. I worked at their D.C.-based policy and legislative office. As a marine policy fellow, my main role was to advocate for the passage of legislation. I focused on illegal fishing, port state measures, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act reauthorization. We tried to gain support and identify ocean champions to “rally the troops” and get congressmen to join on. My MPS internship helped me develop many relevant skills that are applicable to my job today, including project management, program/campaign design and implementation, public speaking, organization, and an opportunity to see how NGO and the legal process work internally. Overall, my internship helped me explore the notion that marine science and policy is not flat, there are creative ways to achieve goals. Not many people at FishWise have a policy background, also having a diversified background helped.
What were your favorite classes at RSMAS and why?
A lot of what I did dealt with policy, such as topics like illegal fishing and seafood fraud. I really enjoyed Professor Manoj Shivlani’s Ocean Policy and Development class. I loved his style of teaching and I learned a lot. I loved going to class and always wanted to pay attention. I also liked Dr.Neil Hammerschlag’s Marine Conservation class because it was conservation-focused and his debates helped us learn a lot about the pros and cons of controversial topics. During these debates, we often had to play devils advocate and understand the whole picture. What is your favorite RSMAS memory? Spending half of my life in the library, going to Wetlab, and because I was part of the Shark Research and Conservation Program, I would go out shark-tagging on Thursdays and Fridays. We would come back and go to Wetlab; I loved the comradery of it, as well as drinking beers at sunset.
What is your favorite RSMAS memory?
Spending half of my life in the library, going to Wetlab, and because I was part of the Shark Research and Conservation Program, I would go out shark-tagging on Thursdays and Fridays. We would come back and go to Wetlab; I loved the comradery of it, as well as drinking beers at sunset.
What piece of advice would you give to current or incoming MPS students?
Try to branch out: join a club or do research in something not directly in your field. For me, I joined the Shark Research and Conservation Program. For current students, you do not have to put blinders on; you can try different things. RSMAS offers so many good opportunities, such as going on the F.G. Walton Smith research vessel, being in a lab, etc. Take these opportunities to become a more well-rounded candidate for when you graduate. The more you get real-world experience, the more you will excel in whatever you do.