Fish Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Lake Champlain Fish
and Wildlife Resource Office
Background: Steve was born and raised in St.
Albans, VT and attended Saint Michaels from 1996-2000; B.S. Biology,
minor in Environmental Studies. He received a M.S. in Wildlife
and Fisheries Biology studying life history of sea lamprey
What got you interested in your current field? Growing up
I was immersed in outdoor activities by two older brothers and a
grandfather. Spending time on a lake or in the woods helped me fall
in love with nature. By the time I was at St. Michaels I was drawn
toward biology by one of my brothers who was working in wildlife
biology. The idea of making a career working with wildlife or fish
seemed perfect. I decided Biology was a great fit for me and I
focused on organismal and field oriented courses.
What led you down the path to where you are now? During my
junior year I saw an advertisement for a summer intern position with
the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office and decided to
apply. I was lucky enough to get the job and had a wonderful summer
working on various fish and wildlife projects on Lake Champlain.
This internship solidified my desire to be a field biologist. After
working with the Fish and Wildlife Service for a few more summers as
a biological technician I attended the University of Vermont and
received a M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology studying the early
life history of the sea lamprey.
What experiences in the Saint Michael's College biology
department prepared you for your post-graduate training and your
career? I think the strong academic focus of the Biology
department and great professors at St. Mikes made the transition to
Graduate School very straightforward. Even though I did not conduct
a senior research project, I was exposed to research and field study
through coursework. I specifically remember designing experiments in
Animal Behavior lab and collecting fish data in Aquatic Biology.
These experiences were critical for me in pursuing a career in Fish
and Wildlife Biology.
Do you have any advice for students interested in your field?
The field of wildlife and fisheries biology has grown very
competitive in the last decade. I think that students interested in
this field should build a strong base in biology while at St.
Michaels, and then find a way to gain some experience, prior to
graduate school, in their particular field of interest. This
experience will help them compete for positions in graduate school
that will send them on their way to a great career.
Are there specific opportunities you think biology majors
should pursue before graduation? Certainly any experience with
independent research while at St. Michaels will greatly help the
chances of being accepted to a good graduate program.
What advice would you give current Saint Michael's College
students interested in graduate study and/or specifically interested
in your field? I would strongly encourage students interested in
wildlife and fisheries biology to get experience in the field before
starting a graduate program. This experience will help you to focus
your interests and it will make you a more attractive candidate for
quality graduate programs. Lastly, don�t get discouraged while
pursuing your career goals, be willing to move around and work hard
whenever given the opportunity.