Back in the Northeast

It has been a bit of a whirlwind since the beginning of April when I successfully defended my Ph.D. but I wanted to take a bit of time to write a quick update on where I am and what I am up to.

After a wonderful set of defense and graduation celebrations in NC and NJ, many tearful goodbyes to friends and colleagues at the Marine Lab, and with the most gracious help of my wonderful family, me (and all of my stuff) moved to Falmouth, MA in June to start a year-long postdoc at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA with Sofie Van Parijs. I was so lucky when a few months before my defense, my wonderful committee member Sofie informed me should would like to have me in Woods Hole after defending to work for her in the Passive Acoustics Group. She said she was doing what she wished someone did for her as she was finishing up her dissertation. She wanted me to focus on finishing and not have to worry anymore about what came next. My emotions usually manifest as tears (happy, sad, angry) and Sofie and I cried happy tears on the phone that day. I was so happy and relieved to know I knew what was coming next and that I was going to work with someone as wonderful as Sofie. Not to mention that Sofie has a wonderful group up in Woods Hole and I was going to get to work with all of them too. I was getting my “dream postdoc.”

My first day on the job, which never felt like a first day at all, Sofie and I had a meeting and she outlined three major things she wanted me to focus on. Many people I encountered as I made the move from NC to MA asked me what I would be working on when I got to NOAA… I replied, well, I don’t really know, I think I remember something to do with cod fish, but I have all the faith in the world that Sofie, knowing my strengths and weaknesses extremely well would find some great things for me to work on. And boy was I right. She started by telling me that part of my job was to work on my chapters and getting them published. So far, Chapter 1, check! 3 more to go! Then I heard about the cod fish, I would be helping process automatic cod fish detections from two years of recordings. Year 1, done! 1 more year to go! Then third, Sofie told me that she wanted me to coordinate a new passive acoustic monitoring program for humpback whales in the Caribbean. Wait, what? Yes, you heard right, I am working on a multi-national, ten recording device, six site Caribbean Humpback Acoustic Monitoring Programme, what I have dubbed “CHAMP.” So I’ve been busy! Between work and presenting at a week-long conference in Dublin, Ireland, “The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life,” it has been a whirlwind but I wouldn’t change it for the world.