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NOAA Corps

BOTC 111

Members of BOTC 111 in their service dress blues

Members of NOAA Corps Basic Officer Training Class 111 at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.

June 28, 2007

Ensign Mark Andrews

ENS Mark Andrews grew up in Bethesda, MD. He attended Princeton University and earned a Bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. Over the years he worked at a variety of scientific jobs. He dissected squid at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, studied pesticides at the NMFS lab in Charleston, SC, and looked into historic fish populations at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett, RI. For most of the last seven years, Mark has worked in the tall ship industry. He headed up the environmental education program on the oystering schooner AJ MEERWALD in Bivalve, NJ, and he served as first mate on the sardine boat turned charter schooner AURORA out of Newport, RI. He holds a USCG 100 ton inland master's license. In his free time, ENS Andrews enjoys windsurfing and small boat sailing. He is looking forward to an exciting career in the NOAA Corps.

Ensign Matthew Griffin

ENS Matthew Griffin grew up in the town of Luling, Louisiana a small suburban area just west of the city of New Orleans. He attended college at the University of New Orleans were he earned his Bachelor’s degrees in Geographic Information Systems and Anthropology. While in college he worked with New Orleans 911 to develop a Computer Aided Dispatching system to help response times of emergency personnel. During summers he attended archeology field school in Belize where he worked with Mayan archeological remains. He is a former swim instructor, competitive swimmer, and certified PADI open water diver. After school ENS Griffin continued working as a GIS Analyst for a large international engineering firm, where he worked with engineers and planners on environmental, civil, and mapping related projects. ENS Griffin has chosen NOAA Corps because of its focus on NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations. He is interested in nearly every facet of the NOAA Corps mission and is proud to be given the opportunity to serve his country as a uniformed officer. ENS Griffin is excited about his new career and hopes be stationed on one a NOAA’s hydrographic vessels or dive platforms.

Ensign Megan Guberski

ENS Megan Guberski grew up in Washington State , near the shores of Puget Sound . She began her sailing at the age of two as ballast in her father’s racing boats, graduating to apprenticeship positions on the tall ships Adventuress and Lady Washington while in high school. She went on to earn a degree in anthropology from Smith College in Northampton ,Massachusetts. After deciding against a career in academics, ENS Guberski returned to sea as a deckhand aboard a hydrographic survey vessel acquiring data used to update nautical charts. While working in the Gulf of Alaska she gained an appreciation for the dedication and skill needed to produce charts, and would feel blessed to serve as an officer aboard a hydrographic ship. ENS Guberski holds an Able-Bodied Seaman’s ticket, and eagerly anticipates her first sea assignment, wherever it may be.

Ensign Jonathan Heesch

ENS Jonathan Heesch came to the NOAA Corps after close to 9 years of service in the US Marine Corps where he was a Meteorologist & Oceanographer. ENS Heesch discovered the NOAA Corps while viewing a link to the recruiting website almost 5 years ago when looking at weather data. After visiting NOAA Ship David Starr Jordan, ENS Heesch focused his efforts on completing his Bachelors Degree in Natural Science and Mathematics while he finished his obligation to the Marines. ENS Heesch is married to his wonderful wife of 8 years, Dory, who is pregnant with their second child; and has a great 7 year old son also named Jonathan who are currently in Texas. ENS Heesch is looking forward to his continued service to the country and to NOAA and hopes for a successful career wherever the Corps decides to send him.

Ensign Bennie Johnson

ENS Bennie Johnson started his uniformed service career as a seaman recruit at the Navy Prep school BOOST. He then went on to Jacksonville University on an NROTC Scholarship. At JU, ENS Johnson Majored in Chemistry and was a key figure in the establishment of Kappa Alpha Psi the first historically African American fraternity on the campus of JU. Upon graduation ENS Johnson was selected to serve as an Ensign in Naval Special Operations. Upon completion of Diving and Salvage courses at Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center and some additional courses in Rhode Island and Texas, ENS Johnson Reported onboard the Minesweeper USS ARDENT (MCM 12) in Manama Bahrain. ENS Johnson served as both the First Lieutenant and Main propulsion Officer on board ARDENT both before and during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Shortly after returning from Bahrain ENS Johnson resigned his commission in the Navy. He spent 4 months in Costa Rica and 4 months as a high school science teacher before taking time off to be a father to his beautiful 15 month son Zion. He is currently training at BOTC 111 and hopes to become an integral part of NOAA operations for sometime to come.

Ensign Diaha Lewis

ENS Lewis was born and raised in Columbus , Mississippi and completed high school in Jackson ,MS,in 1993. She became passionate about Science under the mentorship of her 6th grade scienceteacher,whileattending West Elementary, in Gulfport, MS . In 1999, ENS Lewis received her B. S. degree in Marine Biology, from the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg ,MS. After that time, she joined the Army Reserves, and has served as a truck driver as well as a light wheeled vehicle mechanic. In April 2004, ENS Lewis was called to active duty with Echo Company of the 3rd Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, from the 108th Division. She was sent to active duty Drill Sergeant School at Ft. Jackson , SC and graduated in July 2004. During her two years of active service, she has trained Army soldiers, as well as Navy officers and sailors, in basic combat techniques and weaponry. ENS Lewis was thrilled to be the first Drill Sergeant to join the NOAA Corps and can be seen wearing her badge proudly on her NOAA Corps uniform. While working in South Carolina , ENS Lewis was able to volunteer as an Exhibit Guide at the South Carolina Aquarium, in Charleston, SC, where she also received an AZA Reptile Handler certification. ENS Lewis was led to the NOAA Corps through NOAA Ocean Explorer website, where she was able to view the profile of a NOAA Corps Officer, on the NOAA Ocean Explorer Ocean Career page. ENS Lewis has a great love and respect for the oceans and the uncharted lands to explore within it. She hopes to one day be a Deep Sea Submersible Pilot and, after driving and fixing trucks in the Army, ENS Lewis is looking forward to getting her start by driving boats and ships in the NOAA Corps.

Ensign Ron Moyers

ENS Ron Moyers grew up in Madison, Ohio. He always had a love for the water and spent as much time underwater as he could. Upon graduating high school, ENS Moyers joined the United States Marine Corps and spent parts of five years on four different continents which included service in the Afghanistan and Iraqi campaigns. ENS Moyers found a love of SCUBA diving while stationed in Okinawa , Japan and went on to become a NAUI SCUBA instructor and has logged close to 500 dives. After leaving the Marine Corps, ENS Moyers attended Utah Valley State College and graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Aviation – Professional Pilot. He holds an FAA commercial multi-engine pilot license with instrument rating and has logged over 300 flight hours. ENS Moyers is looking forward to whatever assignment the NOAA Corps may hand him and hopes to someday enter the NOAA aviation program

Ensign Megan O'Brien

ENS Megan O’Brien grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her parents and her younger sister. She developed an early interest for the sea, earning her diving certification at the age of 15, and developing a particular interest in shark biology. While attending Florida Atlantic University she furthered her interest for the ocean by pursing part of her degree at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. After earning a B.S. in Marine Biology in 2005 she went on to work for Mote Marine Laboratory where she helped to tag and track several species of sharks. ENS O’Brien hopes to be assigned to a ship where she can help implement and develop NOAA’s conservation directives and sanctuary protection. She is anticipating an exciting career in the NOAA Corps, and looks forward to her first ship assignment.

Ensign Faith Opatrny

ENS Opatrny is from Northfield, MN. She has been around water since an early age and this fascination grew into a career in the marine sciences. She graduated from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science and a Certificate degree in Marine Biology. She was first introduced to the NOAA Corps as an intern with the Shark Population Assessment Group at the NOAA Fisheries Service Panama City Laboratory. She has spent the past several years in Florida, working with sea turtle monitoring and research, water chemistry, environmental analysis, habitat assessments, and SCUBA diving. ENS Opatrny is SCUBA certified in Open Water, Advanced Open Water, & Nitrox diving. When she is not on the water or under-water, she also enjoys boating, biking, the outdoors, volunteering, and visiting with her wonderful family and friends. ENS Opatrny is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of being a NOAA Corps Officer and participating in the many innovative marine science advances to come.

Ensign Nathan Parker

ENS Parker grew up in Topeka , Kansas and attended the nearby University of Kansas where he earned undergraduate degrees in microbiology and cell biology as well as a PhD in microbiology. His academic research focused on the developmental biology of salamanders and zebrafish. ENS Parker developed an interest in environmental science and has worked for Austin , Texas ’s Watershed protection department. There he learned about field science and how it interacts with public policy. ENS Parker also enjoys teaching and taught Microbiology to pre-nursing students at Austin Community College . He hopes that his career in the NOAA Corps will inspire his students to work hard for their dream jobs. ENS Parker is looking forward to using is science background in the public service. He hopes to work in fisheries or on a ship that combines fisheries and hydrographic studies.

Ensign Brian Prestcott

ENS Prestcott joined the Navy from Cedar City, Utah in 1997 to serve as a Nuclear Technician. His two years of initial training were followed by four years of operation on a fast-attack submarine during which he attended Navy Dive School to conduct hull maintenance and security inspections. In his subsequent instructor tour he qualified as Master Training Specialist and Command Duty Officer and became the fleet wide Curriculum Manager over all training centers for one course. Concurrently, he completed his B.S. in Nuclear Engineering Technology and his M.S. in Engineering Management. ENS Prestcott enjoys sailing and spearfishing and looks forward to the many adventures and opportunities the NOAA Corps has to offer.

Ensign Russell Quintero

Ensign Russell Quintero was born in Merced, California. He graduated from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, with a B.S. in Physics. He enjoys traveling and has been to 14 countries over 4 continents. He has climbed Macchu Picchu and ran with the bulls in Pamplona. He is in love with the sea, and eagerly looking forward to his first sea tour and the life less ordinary that being in the NOAA Corps brings.

Ensign Patrick Redmond

Ensign Patrick Redmond grew up in Harrington Park, a small town in Bergen County, New Jersey. He got his first taste of the ocean as a child spending summers down the Jersey shore, and has been in love with it ever since. He attended New York Maritime College in the Bronx where he received a Bachelor of Science in Marine Environmental Science, as well as an Unlimited Tonnage Third Mate's License. ENS Redmond has traveled throughout Europe during his summers aboard the school's training ship EMPIRE STATE. ENS Redmond believes that being part of the NOAA Corps will give him the opportunity to both hone his skills as a mariner and to further his education in the field of Marine Science, all while serving his country. ENS Redmond's interests are drawing, fishing, camping, sailing, and of course, spending summers "down the shore," where he someday hopes to retire.

Ensign Glen Rice

ENS Glen Rice graduated from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in 1999 with a degree in Physics and minors in Oceanography and Ocean Engineering. During his undergraduate career he spent a semester at Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, MA. The six week sailing portion of that semester peaked ENS Rice’s interest in Ocean Science and tall ships. As a result he spent his remaining summers while in school working at the UNH Coastal Marine Laboratory and on tall ships in Bar Harbor, Maine. ENS Rice returned to UNH to work on the Open Ocean Aquaculture Project as a Project Engineer, and obtained his 100 Ton Master Mariners license, basic trimix scuba certification, and a Masters degree in Ocean Engineering. His work at UNH primarily involved managing the logistics of deploying, operating and maintaining large moorings, fish cages, and buoys for feeding fish, in 52 meters of water, 10 km offshore. ENS Rice’s interests include swimming, diving, welding, computers and traveling. ENS Rice is eager to continue his study of ocean science in a career in the NOAA Corps.

Ensign Christine Schultz

ENS Christine Schultz joins BOTC 111 from Vernon, New Jersey. She has spent the past four years at Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology and a minor in Earth Systems. At Penn State she was a member of the sailing team, local chapter of the American Meteorological Society, the meteorology honors society Chi Epsilon Pi, and was a shift manager for the university’s student-run weather forecast service. ENS Schultz also had the opportunity to intern at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire where she assisted with weather observations, public outreach, and weather forecasting while braving hurricane-force winds and thick fog at 6,288 feet above sea level. In her spare time ENS Schultz enjoys telemark, cross country, and alpine skiing. She can also be found hiking in the White Mountains and kayaking in Vermont. ENS Schultz is excited to begin her career with the NOAA Corps and assist in the important environmental research NOAA conduct s.

Ensign Claire Surrey

ENS Claire Surrey grew up in the Bronx and left the city life to attain a B.S. in Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. After graduating in 2004, ENS Surrey spent 3 years as a marine mammal biologist specializing in manatees for the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. ENS Surrey has always enjoyed travel, having spent time in Italy, Greece, and Australia in recent years. In her free time, she enjoys SCUBA diving and acting in local theater. ENS Surrey is looking forward to her upcoming career with NOAA and sharing her love of the ocean and all within it with her fellow officers and scientists.

Ensign Nathan Witherly

Ens Witherly was born in Reno, Nevada. He grew up with his parents and younger brother in Toronto, Canada. Following a move to San Francisco, California, ENS Witherly completed high school and went on to do his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. During that time his summers were spent as a guide and assistant researcher with a group studying the ecology of gray and humpback whales in British Columbia, Canada. Since then he has had experience studying cetaceans in the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Maui and the St Lawrence River, Canada. After an 8-month tour as a fisheries observer out of Pt Judith, Rhode Island, he took some time off to crew on a sailboat from Florida to Gibraltar, contemplating what to do in the future. ENS Witherly decided to join the U.S. Coast Guard. Trained as a Boatswain’s Mate, he served on two Coast Guard cutters during his four-year enlistment. His experience as an Officer of the Deck in the Coast Guard has prepared him for the upcoming challenges of serving as an officer in the NOAA Corps. ENS Witherly hopes to serve aboard one of NOAA’s marine mammal survey or fisheries survey ships.


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