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NOAA Corps

BOTC 109

BOTC 109 class members with VADM Conrad Lautenbacher

Members of NOAA Corps Basic Officer Training Class 109 with NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher. Members of the class include Benjamin LaCour, Caryn Arnold, Chad Meckley, Christopher Skapin, James Falkner, Jennifer King, Joshua Slater, Justin Keesee, Marc Weekley, Mark Frydrych, Matthew Burton, Megan Nadeau, Phoebe Woodworth, Ryan Wattam, Timothy Smith, and Carl Rhodes.

May 25, 2006

Ensign Caryn M. Arnold

ENS Arnold grew up in North Brookfield, MA. Having a great attraction to the water, she worked as a lifeguard, as well as a swimming and boating instructor. She graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) with a BS in Marine Safety and Environmental Protection. She also studied Marine Transportation while attending MMA. Although she enjoyed the sea life, she obtained a position in an environmental company where she became the VP of Field Operations. Needing a new challenge, she looked into a job with the NOAA Corps. ENS Arnold is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities as a NOAA Corps Officer.

Ensign Matthew T. Burton

ENS Burton is from Greensboro, NC where he has lived most of his life. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.S. in physics and a minor in mathematics. After graduating he worked in industry as a Quality Services Engineer. ENS Burton is an instrument rated pilot and was completing requirements for his commercial pilot certification when he learned of the opportunity to join the NOAA Corps. In his spare time ENS Burton enjoys reading, chess, motorcycling, and playing the guitar. He is eager to learn ship systems and operations for his first sea tour and is looking forward to continuing his career in aviation with the NOAA Corps.

Ensign James T. Falkner 

ENS James Falkner was born into a Navy family and traveled the country while growing up. He was born in San Diego, California before moving to Charleston, South Carolina and then to Jacksonville, Florida. His family finally settled down in Bremerton, Washington in the mid 90's. He attended the University of Washington and graduated in June of 2005 with a major in Oceanography. He then sailed on the R/V Atlantis for a month and worked for a professor at the UW while waiting to join the NOAA Corps. Growing up on both coasts has fostered in him a love for the ocean. He hopes to pursue that love during his time with the NOAA Corps.

Ensign Mark K. Frydrych

ENS Frydrych is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. ENS Frydrych graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Applied Meteorology with a concentration in the area of research. He also headed up the Weather Center, and the Weather Club. In the summer of 2005 ENS Frydrych participated in an internship with Computer Sciences Raytheon at Patrick Air Force Base. He provided meteorological systems analysis in support of such operations as the NASA return to Flight launch of space shuttle Discovery. ENS Frydrych is looking forward to the diverse career path of NOAA Corps, and hopes to fly into hurricanes in the future.

Ensign Justin T. Keesee

ENS Keesee was born into a Navy family. He spent his childhood in Hawaii, and went to high school in southern California. He got his BS in Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology. Days after graduation he packed his meager belongings and took a job as a North Pacific Groundfish Observer stationed in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The next four years were spent working alongside fisherman and other fisheries biologists monitoring the multibillion dollar Alaskan fishing industry. Between deployments he sought out the warm climates of Australia, the Caribbean, and Southern California searching for the ultimate scuba diving experience. ENS Keesee is looking forward to applying his passion for the ocean, both above and below, to a long career with NOAA Corps.

Ensign Jennifer L. King

ENS Jennifer King grew up in Long Beach, CA. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Marine Biology in December 2005. Growing up on a 40 ft. sailboat, she has spent most of her life on the ocean sailing to such locations as Mexico and Hawaii, as well as waters around Southern California. While in college, she spent one semester living on Santa Catalina Island immersed in marine biology research. She has also participated in several research cruises with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) taking part in nutrient and zooplankton sampling. ENS King is very excited about a career in the NOAA Corp and hopes she will be able to use her science and maritime background.

Ensign Benjamin M. LaCour

ENS LaCour joined the NOAA Corps from Mobile, AL where he was working at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. At the sea lab he assisted in fisheries research in the Mobile Bay/Gulf of Mexico area as well as remote parts of Alaska. Before working at the sea lab, ENS LaCour attended Auburn University where he graduated with a degree in marine sciences. While in school ENS LaCour worked as an airplane mechanic at the Auburn/Opelika airport. In the spring of 2003 ENS LaCour’s Marine Reserve Infantry Unit was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in Iraq he served as and Infantry Assault team leader working in a myriad of combat operations. ENS LaCour looks forward to spending time at sea working to become a proficient mariner. He looks forward to his future and hopes he can contribute to NOAA and the NOAA Corps.

Ensign Chad M. Meckley

ENS Meckley was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. After realizing his passion for the natural sciences, he decided to attend Shippensburg University and major in Geo/Environmental Studies. Upon graduation from Shippensburg Univ. ENS Meckley moved to Denver, Colorado. While in Colorado he worked in recruiting, management, logistics and sales. These positions developed his team building and people skills. They also taught him the importance of thorough planning and the ability to adapt quickly to any situation. ENS Meckley desired a career related to his field of study in college so he applied to the NOAA Corps. ENS Meckley hopes to have his first sea assignment aboard one of NOAA’s hydrographic vessels. He is also eager to serve his country as a member of one of the uniformed services. ENS Meckley also enjoys snow boarding, camping, hiking and many other outdoor activities.

Ensign Megan A. Nadeau 

ENS Nadeau grew up in the Lewiston/Auburn area of Maine. She became fascinated with the depths of the sea at a very young age. Her fascination grew into a passion that she pursued at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and the University of Maine at Orono (UMaine). She graduated with a BS in Marine Science from UMaine in 2004. While at UMaine, ENS Nadeau became SCUBA certified from PADI and joined the Women's Rugby Club. She was also in the Shotokan Karate Club at both UNH and UMaine. In her spare time ENS Nadeau enjoys reading, drawing, being outdoors and spending time with friends and family. She looks forward to all the experiences and adventures NOAA Corps has to offer.

Ensign Carl Rhodes 

Carl Rhodes graduated in 2004 after six years at Maine Maritime Academy. He received a Bachelors of Science in Marine Science and an Associates degree in Small Vessel Operations. Prior to becoming a NOAA Corps officer he was operating small passenger vessels for Massachusetts Bay Lines. As a licensed diver, Carl enjoys SCUBA diving as well as hiking and sailing. Carl hopes to one day have the opportunity to be the CO of one of NOAA’s many vessels.

Ensign Christopher S. Skapin

As an Air Force family member, ENS Skapin lived across the country and joined the NOAA Corps from Birmingham, Alabama, where he recently married and worked as a Technical Field Engineer. He developed an early interest in marine biology through field studies at Forfar Field station on Andros Island, Bahamas, and a summer at Dauphin Island Sea lab. Although previously an IT Manager and a zookeeper, his marine biology interest peaked while conducting challenging field research as a fisheries research assistant and he highly desires returning to fisheries. At Carroll High School in Dayton, Ohio, he played football and baseball, earned his Eagle Scout, and then attended Auburn University earning a BS in Marine Biology and a Masters in Management Information Systems. While at Auburn, he was an SGA Senator, an enthusiastic Marine Biology Club member, played intramural sports, held multiple Chi Phi Fraternity offices, and represented Auburn at the National Leadership Conference. ENS Skapin enjoys mountain biking, hiking, Tae Kwon Do (2003 Florida State Champion), and Hapkido. He has also competed in an adventure race and earned his NAUI and YMCA Rescue Diver and PADI Advanced Scuba Diver certifications. ENS Skapin takes great pride in service to his community and country. As a NOAA Corps Officer, he’s excited to fulfill both of his dream endeavors – ocean fisheries research and uniformed service.

Ensign Joshua J. Slater

Growing up in a military family, ENS Slater is used to traveling about the country. Some of the places that he has called home include CA, WA, Japan, MD, VA, NC, and HI. ENS Slater’s collegiate career began at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA, where he competed on the Men’s Varsity Swim Team, receiving All-Conference honors. After two land-locked years in VA, he transferred to the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he received his B.S. in Marine Biology and his M.S. in Marine Science. His Master’s research focused on the ‘winter energetics of juvenile bluefish’ and is currently in review for publication in the Marine Ecology Progress Series. While in graduate school ENS Slater taught undergraduate biology labs, participated in overnight research trawling cruises (70’ R/V Cape Fear), received two graduate student fellowships, and presented his research at a national American Fisheries Society conference. After graduating in Dec. 2004, he took a temporary position as a NOAA contractor out of Honolulu, HI. While there he spent two months in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (140’ M/V Freebird) removing derelict fishing gear from the coral reefs of French Frigate Shoals. ENS Slater is PADI Openwater, NAUI Enriched-Air Nitrox, and NOAA Scientific diver equivalent scuba certified, and enjoys surfing, freediving, reading, and hiking with his girlfriend and their puppy. ENS Slater is very excited about having joined the NOAA Corps and is optimistic about the future. After spending the last year in Hawaii, he is looking forward to returning to the East Coast and hopefully working on a fisheries vessel in the North Atlantic.

Ensign Timothy M. Smith

ENS Smith is from Barnstable, Massachusetts. He attended Gonzaga University in 2001 and transferred to the University of Massachusetts Amherst the following year. He completed his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in February 2006. ENS Smith enjoys the outdoors and activities such as hiking, sea kayaking, and snowboarding. He also has interests in film photography and computers. Having grown up sailing small boats on Cape Cod, he has a passion for the water and the environment and is looking forward to his first sea assignment in the NOAA Corps.

Ensign Ryan C. Wattam

ENS Ryan Wattam comes from a military background as both of his parents were commanders in the U.S. Navy. He was born in Pensacola, FL and has lived in Texas, Mississippi, California, Washington D.C., Missouri and Japan. He moved to Mobile, AL in 2001 to attend Spring Hill College and graduated last May with a BS in Marine Biology. ENS Wattam enjoys swimming, SCUBA diving, canoeing, and playing pickup football. He sought a commission with the NOAA Corps because he had always wanted to join the military to serve his country but at the same time wanted to put his degree to use. He is enjoying the challenges and opportunities that BOTC is affording him and eagerly awaits reporting to his first ship for sea duty!

Ensign Marc E. Weekley

ENS Weekley was born in Bay City Texas in 1972. After spending sixteen years traveling abroad with family he graduated High School in Colorado. After a couple years of college, he trained to become a scuba instructor and taught for the next five years in the Caribbean and the west coast of Mexico. ENS Weekley completed his BS in Environmental Science from University of South Florida. He proceeded to become a Divemaster for the Florida Aquarium, where he also held a position as an assistant biologist. His duties included maintaining both fresh and saltwater tanks, as well as leading guests into the two larger saltwater systems at the facility. ENS Weekley enjoyed his experiences on the ocean as a diver and welcomes the challenges to be met as an officer in the NOAA Corps. He looks forward to the training over the next several weeks, as well as his contribution to the Corps in the years to come.

Ensign Phoebe A. Woodworth

ENS Woodworth is from the small town of Gladstone in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She attended the University of Oklahoma where she received a B.S. (cum laude) in meteorology. She then went on to earn a M.S. in meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School. While in graduate school, ENS Woodworth participated in several oceanographic research cruises, which directed her career toward the sea. On land, her interests include piano, running, and many other outdoor activities. She has worked as a research assistant, as well as a lifeguard and swim instructor. ENS Woodworth is looking forward to combining her meteorology and oceanography backgrounds while working as a NOAA Corps officer.

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