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People of the Restoration Center
Natural Resource Economist: Silver Spring, Maryland
I’m a natural resource economist for the NOAA Office of Habitat Conservation. My current focus is guiding the Restoration Center’s socio-economic efforts. I also provide advice and guidance for our Recovery Act projects that have a socio-economic monitoring side. I’m also involved with implementing a number of research studies that are focused on estimating the economic values of nature’s benefits associated with our restoration projects.
What is that you like most about your job? I’m one of only two economists in the Office of Habitat, so I get to represent the Office for NOAA and coordinate closely with other federal agencies. I also like working with the staff – they all have such diverse backgrounds and expertise.
What is the hardest part about your job? Trying to convince others that social sciences, like economics, are a relevant and important aspect of restoration projects can be pretty challenging.
How long have you been with the Restoration Center, and what interested you in working for NOAA? I’ve been here for a year and half. I came to NOAA straight out the University of Delaware, where I got my Ph.D. in marine policy. My interest in NOAA stems from my background: I was born and raised in Jamaica, so I have an interest in tropical marine sciences, and here at NOAA I was able to combine my science training with my economics background.
What advice would you give young people thinking about becoming a natural resource economist? Follow your passion! You need to get a good grounding in biology and economics, so that you can really understand the importance of habitat and its role in human existence. Be open to working in an interdisciplinary setting, relating to other economists and also biologists, resource managers, and restoration specialists. But most importantly: follow your passion!