Why did you choose UConn?
I was working at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and looking into graduate schools during my downtime. My bosses met Hannes Baumann, associate professor of marine sciences, at a meeting. They all agreed that they would like to collaborate on a project using the data that the DEEP had collected about Atlantic sturgeon, where a student would get a degree with Hannes as their advisor. Since I had been a seasonal employee with the DEEP, was familiar with the data, and looking to get my master’s degree, I was lucky enough to be the perfect fit for the project.
What’s your area of study and why did you choose it?
My degree is in biological oceanography, [which explores the dynamics and variability of life in marine ecosystems]. My undergraduate degree is in marine biology and biology, so I was excited to study a slightly different aspect of marine sciences. My project focused on the growth and movement of Atlantic sturgeon in the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. While all facets of oceanography play a part in the behavior of a highly migratory species such as Atlantic sturgeon, biological oceanography was the best fitting area of study.
What does life after UConn look like for you?
I graduated early, in late March, to start my new job at the CT DEEP. I am a fisheries biologist on the Long Island Sound trawl survey. This is a long-standing survey of fish and macro-invertebrates across Long Island Sound that helps inform both state and federal management of fish species.
How have you started using your master’s degree training in your new position?
I am using the fieldwork skills that I learned during my master’s degree, but also, some of the data analysis and management skills that I used during my thesis.
What was your biggest highlight during your time at UConn?
The biggest highlight during my time at UConn was probably when I got to present my thesis project. I started my master’s degree in Spring 2020, and from there, most of my classwork and research was done from home. Therefore, it meant a lot to be able to share my final work with everyone at Avery Point in-person (and virtually) since I did not get as much of an opportunity to do so during peak pandemic.
Who was your favorite professor/mentor and why?
Hannes Baumann, who was my advisor. I enjoy working independently, but while working at home, it was not always easy to keep up to date with how things were going. Hannes always let me take up so much of his time unloading all my updates, questions, and results when I had a chance to catch up with him. He allowed me so much independence while working but was always there to tune up and polish what I was working on.
What will you miss most about UConn?
My labmates. Unfortunately, since I went to graduate school during a pandemic, and worked part-time, I did not get to meet and get to know as many of my fellow graduate students and professors as I would have liked to. However, by helping my labmates with their research and working on other lab duties, I got to know my fellow lab members and will miss working with them!