Alumni Career Interviews

So what happens once someone graduates with a masters degree in marine science? Graduates of MLML have gone on to work in fields such as education, research, government, scientific writing, and much more! Check out these interviews of former MLML students to find out what they have done since graduating, and what advice they have for making it in their career fields.

Education & Research

Lara Ferry (1994)

Job: Research Faculty at Arizona State University

“The most rewarding part is figuring out exactly how something works. It is like a great mystery, and when you solve it, you feel triumphant. It is amazing to me that there are still so many mysteries left in this regard.” Read more.


Manny Ezcurra

Juan Manuel (Manny) Ezcurra (2001)

Job: Associate curator of elasmobranchs (sharks!) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

“Working in the aquarium field is in many ways like the basics that you learn about ecology: resources are limited and competition is high…but at times there are specialized niches that one can occupy.” Read more.

Marine Research

Erica Burton (1999)

Job: Research Specialist, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

“I am involved with various marine research issues including marine reserves, ecological characterization, long-term monitoring, submerged cultural resources, and damage assessment (e.g., ship groundings, oil spills).” Read more.

John Heine (1982)

Job: Editor, CalCOFI Reports, and CalCOFI Coordinator, NOAA, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game, La Jolla, CA. (Calif. DFG)

I’ve been diving on research projects world-wide, including many seasons in the Antarctic, the Arctic, and the Southern Ocean in Australia.  I’ve written five books, including a novel loosely based on my time at MLML, called Marine DreamsRead more.

Shannon Johnson (2003)

Job: Research Technician at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

“The best advice someone gave me for getting into graduate school is find what you like (LOVE, because you will be spending a lot of time doing it!) and then find a professor doing what you like doing- then go meet her/him-then apply.” Read more.

Elizabeth Phillips (2005)

Job: PhD student at the University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

I think the best thing I got from my experience at MLML was the training in marine science research, and the confidence to go out and conduct my own projects.  I would not be where I am now without going to MLML.Read more.


Brian Schlining (1999)

Job: Software Engineer in Research and Development, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) (since 1998)

My principle advisor, Dr. Broenkow, was great at teaching how to break things down to first principles. I learned how to dissect seemingly difficult problems into more easily digestable bites. That alone was worth my time at MLML and has been vital for being succesful at my current job.” Read more.

Kyra Schlining (1999)

Job: Senior Research Technician at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

“My main task is to annotate the video collected during the ROV deep-sea research missions. My co-workers and I try to identify and describe all the animals, geological features, experiments, equipment that we see in the video…” Read more.

Peter Slattery (1980)

Job: Researcher and Restoration Ecologist at Moss Landing Marine Labs, Benthic Ecology Lab

“Don’t believe everything, but learn all you can while in school; figure out how things around you make more sense with classroom knowledge, and where classroom knowledge needs more common sense…Feed your curiosity. Look around you, see details, remember things, learn to draw and draw to help you see.” Read more.

Susan Von Thun (2001)

Job: Research technician at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

“While at sea, I annotate video, help identify animals, help collect animals using the ROV and trawl nets, and even occasionally jig for squid!” Read more.

Government Agencies

Kevin Hill (1986)

Job: Research Fishery Biologist, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

“In order to allow fisheries to catch fish each year, we are required to determine the population status and make a recommendation as to what portion may be safely removed.  This process of fish population analysis is called ’stock assessment’, and this is my main job.” Read more.

Health Research

Douglas Fields(1979)

Job: Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

“If you study marine science and eventually change to a non-science career, you will have gained enormous practical and intellectual skills that will be valuable in many different professions. At the same time you will have a greater understanding of the natural world and of science. The world needs that.” Read more.

2 Responses to Alumni Career Interviews

  1. Led Spots · says:

    the oil spill in mexico really affected the eco system around that area, it would take years to clean those mess ~


  2. Stevia says:

    oil spills can really mess up the environment, i hope we can find a very good solution to control oil spills *~*


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