I was born/grew up in: I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, moved to Canada (Ontario) in 2000. Moved to PEI in 2006
I now live in: Summerside, PE
I completed my training/education at: University of Plymouth – BSc. (Hons) Biological Sciences
School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales – MSc. Shellfish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture
What I do at work
At the PEI Aquaculture Alliance, I am responsible for our science and technical projects. I also coordinate with the aquaculture industry on issues that arise. There is a lot of communication in my job! This ranges from chatting with growers during visits (when possible) or over the phone. It also includes talking or e-mailing university researchers, as well as provincial and federal government staff. I’m also involved in creating social media posts about the industry, as well as composing formal letters to Ministers on industry issues.
My STEM background is helpful in understanding the issues. My long-term experience with the industry is also valuable. I don’t do any direct field research anymore. I am more involved on the admin and project management side of things. Communication is definitely my largest role. As such, IT skills are important, though nothing too in-depth. I can code and edit HTML for example but I don’t need to do it that often.
My career path is
When I was in school, I wanted to be the next Jacques Cousteau! Unfortunately, I have problems with my ears and so cannot dive. My career path has had many twists and turns! I have worked as a Food Quality Assurance Technician for an Italian food company. I have also worked as a Database Manager and IT Support for the Government of Ontario. In addition, I have had many other short-term jobs. Moving countries, and then provinces, often forces you to find jobs in the short term that perhaps you didn’t think you’d enjoy, or even stay at for that long. However, you can still learn something from every job you have, and use those experiences in the future.
I am motivated by
New projects and new opportunities always get me excited! You have to be able to deal with the disappointment if something does not work out. I enjoy talking to people and learning about the issues that are affecting them. It can be very frustrating though, as somethings are beyond my control.
I was always keen on aquaculture, which is why I decided to study it. When I moved to Prince Edward Island, I found a very active and successful aquaculture industry there. It is great to have been involved with how well it is developing. It is also great to have been a part of how much it has expanded over the last decade or so.
How I affect people’s lives
I help aquaculture growers with issues that are affecting them and their businesses. I’m always looking for opportunities to improve things overall for the aquaculture industry on PEI. Aquaculture is an important food production system. In fact, it is the fastest growing one in the world today because so much of the available land has been used. As a result, the oceans (and lakes) are really the only spaces left to grow the food that our increasing world population needs. In addition, aquaculture is a lot more environmentally friendly than other types of food production. This is especially true with respect to climate change.
Outside of work I
Reading, gaming, movies. Cooking for pleasure as well as necessity.
I walk, swim, and run. I like to go hiking but don’t get out as much as I would like to.
My advice to others
Study what you are interested in, not what you think will get you a particular job, UNLESS you are 100% certain you want that job/role/career.
Work hard and play hard as well. Valuable experience comes from lots of different places. Never be afraid to get your hands dirty and to try something different!