Research Scientist / Engineer - Ocean Climate Stations Group
Jennifer (Jenny, Jen...whoever. She's not picky.) joined JISAO in late August 2010 as a Research Scientist / Engineer for the Ocean Climate Stations (OCS) group at the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL). Within three weeks of starting work, she was off to Japan to deploy a climate monitoring buoy. A few months later, she was deploying another buoy off South Africa. Talk about jumping in with both feet and hitting the ground running!
There are exactly three and a quarter people in the OCS group, so Jennifer gets to take on a wide range of responsibilities, and thrives on the variety and challenges. Some days involve testing and integrating new equipment. Other days require spreadsheets of data and report writing. You may find her climbing on a buoy tower, building something in the lab, calibrating instruments, or shipping gear around the world. Occasionally, you may not find her at all, because she's at sea.
The OCS program deploys heavily instrumented moorings in areas of large environmental fluxes. Instruments include meteorological sensors, ocean temperature and salinity probes, current meters, and a CO2 monitoring system. The moorings provide real-time data and serve as climate reference stations. Data are used to detect rapid changes and episodic events, as well as long-term changes in the climate system. This helps to improve weather forecasting and climate models while also developing a long-term data set.
People are fascinated by the work done at JISAO and Jennifer is often asked how she got her job. There is inevitably a long pause while she contemplates the answer. Ironically, she sometimes even asks herself, "How did I end up here?" It certainly was not a direct path. Here are the highlights:
Jennifer graduated with a degree in physics from Western Washington University before moving to Colorado to work in a laser lab. While there, she got her first introduction to NOAA, working with the lidar group at NOAA's Boulder campus. This work helped her to land a position as a hydrographic survey technician aboard the NOAA Ship THOMAS JEFFERSON out of Norfolk, VA. She got to see a great deal of the east coast of the U.S. and traveled to Mexico with the ship before transferring to the FAIRWEATHER, based in Ketchikan, AK. A second survey season allowed her to see some of the beauty of Alaska, but two years of living aboard ships was about all the time she could stand. Jennifer traveled to California to work as a Marine Technician at the Bodega Marine Lab and then moved back to Washington to work in a drinking water lab in Bothell. When the JISAO opportunity arose she jumped at the chance to get back into ocean science. Though it's been a bit of a gypsy lifestyle so far, Jennifer has no plans to leave JISAO any time soon.
On the side, Jennifer recently started her own business called Feels Like Home, offering home staging, redesign, organizing, and senior move management. Anyone who has ever seen her workspace can attest that organizing things is her true calling in life. She also enjoys spending time with her family and their two dogs, AnnieJo and Kelly, also known as Panda Bear and Bean.