John Williams (BS, 1969; MS, 1975; PhD, 1978)
I grew up expecting to attend the University of Washington as had nearly all of my close relatives (my maternal grandmother graduated in 1909.) I applied to the College of Fisheries at the suggestion of Dixy Lee Ray (high school friend of my mother) and started in fall 1965 with the intent of becoming a marine biologist.
Eric Ward (PhD, 2006)
I almost didn’t make it as a biology major. During my junior year in Ecology and Evolutionary biology at UC San Diego, I realized I wasn’t very good at field work when a couple of graduate students I was volunteering for fired me. Twice. Fortunately I was saved by some ecological modeling classes that I was taking at the time from Mike Gilpin.
George Pess (PhD, 2009)
I never thought I would be a student at the age of 39, but there I was in Tom Quinn’s office discussing what classes to take for the fall of 2004 at SAFS. I quickly realized after having met several of my cohorts that I was by far one of the older students if not the oldest.
Jason Cope (PhD, 2009)
The first time I visited the SAFS, it was a misty and slightly cold Friday morning in November of 2001. I had flown in to meet with André Punt, a new research professor, about the possibility of becoming a graduate student in his lab. I was finishing up an MS degree at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in the Monterey Bay area of California, where Novembers were a bit milder and less cloudy than this introduction to Seattle.
Jim Meador (PhD, 1988)
As a California native (mum’s the word!), I came to SAFS to study aquatic toxicology in 1983. I had knocked off an MS at San Diego State University and was lucky enough to complete a BS at Humboldt State. Prior to coming to SAFS, I was a marine biologist at the Naval Ocean Systems Center in San Diego and a deep-sea ecologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, where I met my wife (Susan Picquelle) a NOAA statistician (Southwest Fisheries Science Center and Alaska Fisheries Science Center).
Kristin Marshall (MS, 2007; Postdoc)
I was an MS student at SAFS from 2003–2007 and returned in 2014–2016 for a post-doc, both in Tim Essington’s lab. It goes without saying that the technical training I got from SAFS was of extremely high quality and prepared me for a career as a fisheries scientist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), where I am now.
Kelli Johnson (PhD, 2018)
As a native of the Olympic Peninsula, I grew up thinking everyone had access to fresh oysters in the half shell, spotted shrimp straight from the bay, and mountain peaks minutes from their house. Every day I did something outside that involved animals, mostly feeding domestic ones and harvesting wild ones. Sometimes, my sister and I would ask our teachers for extra-credit assignments so we would be too busy to feed the horses and cows; schoolwork was the only excuse that would work on our mom.
Mike Sigler (PhD, 1993)
When I went to college, my plan was to become a veterinarian. But then I went to the Shoals Marine Laboratory off the coast of Maine between my junior and senior years and my life turned in another direction. I loved the power of the ocean and was curious about the interrelationships of the animals and plants (or should I say fish and phytoplankton).
Lauren Rogers (PhD, 2010)
“Why fish?” asked my Grandma, perplexed, as I told her I was starting a PhD program at UW. Apparently studying trees was completely normal (my brother was in forestry), but fish were too… slimy. Admittedly, I’d never been a fish lover, but I thought that the field of fisheries would let me apply my interests in oceanography and ecology to problems that matter very directly for humans – and that this would keep me motivated through grad school and beyond.
Carey McGilliard (MS, 2007; PhD, 2012)
It was several events and circumstances that led me to a house in Ravenna on an October night, discussing with Bridget Ferriss (PhD, 2011) how to construct a gigantic squid piñata. It all began in Costa Rica, where I did a biology and Spanish study-abroad program as an undergraduate student, traveling to biological field stations around the country and doing mini-research projects at each one.