By Sandy Webb, Tuesday, August 18, 2005
I met Chad on Tern Island, French Frigate Shoals, in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. We both live on Oahu, but in a place where there are only 20 people (and thatís only because 15 of us were visiting) on an island it's easier to meet folks! Iím here as one of visiting teachers and I thought "what a cool place to work Ė I bet these people LOVE their job!" Chad had come in from a day out in the boat, assisting with the monk seal and shark study and although I'm sure he was tired, he graciously agreed to let me videotape him talking about what he does so that I could share it with my students.
Chad is officially works for NOAA as the Logistic Coordinator/Vessel Safety Coordinator of the Marine Mammal Research Program- in his own words thatís the national Marine Fisheries Service, Hawaiian monk seal program. He was on Tern Island on a special assignment in cooperation with the University of Hawaii helping a young scientist study spinner dolphins. (I was thinking "wow, thatís a great job!")Ö
So how do you get a job like Chadís? His journey started out in Hawaii, where he was born and raised, involves a chemistry set he received in 4th grade that got him hooked on science and continued as he graduated from Roosevelt High School and later from University of Hawai`i. His love of animals and his time spent in the ocean growing up in Hawai`i also played a key role in his career path. He worked with University of Hawaii's Marine Options Program as an undergraduate, volunteered with the Hawaiian monk seal program and was hooked. Eventually he worked his way up to a paid position heís worked ever since to study and protect one of the worldís most endangered marine mammals.
So what does he actually do? Well when we met Chad was working on Tern Island, driving a boat all day working closely with the dolphins, but on other days heís in the water diving, working on the beach, or heís back on Oahu where he also visits classrooms! As Chad described his job, his face literally "lit up."
You might be saying to yourself "What a lucky guy to have a job like that," as I "talked story" with Chad, I thought no, it wasnít luck, he is a motivated guy who was encouraged along the way Ö hopefully, as a science teacher back on Oahu, I can help my students find their way to a job they love.
Chad "on the job"