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NOAA Corps

BOTC 116

BOTC 116 class members in their summer whites

Members of NOAA Corps Basic Officer Training Class 116 at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.

June 22, 2010

Ensign Kelli-Ann Bliss

ENS Kelli-Ann “Kell” Bliss began her love affair with the ocean sailing in the waters off of southern New England. Her love of the ocean enticed her to attend Maine Maritime Academy and she graduated with a BS in Marine Science. The Academy introduced her to different types of vessels, shipboard science and captured her interest in the shipboard life; she worked all four years at the Academy Waterfront improving her small boat skills and learning about caring for boats of all shapes and sizes. After a summer job working on tour boats in Boston harbor she moved to Cape Cod, MA and began running a water testing laboratory for a small private company. In her spare time she spends as much time as possible outdoors backpacking, sailing, skiing, ice climbing, winter mountaineering, SCUBA diving and driving her motorcycle. She has also been studying Kung Fu for the past five years. She looks forward to the challenges ahead, growing as an officer and serving her Corp and Country.

Ensign Jennifer S. Clark

ENS Clark has a wide variety of experience to bring to the NOAA Corps. She earned her degree in environmental studies from Pitzer College in 1991, focusing on community ecology and the interaction of humans with their environment. In 1995, she earned a master’s degree in horticulture from Washington State University, adding organic chemistry, soil science and botany to her repertoire. Her work experience includes two years in the Peace Corps in Central America, working on natural resource conservation with subsistence-level farmers, and eleven years working on salmonid fish habitat in the farmlands and forests of Wasco County, Oregon. This latter work included collaboration with the National Marine Fisheries Service and other agencies on the Fifteenmile Subbasin Plan, which described how the participating agencies would work together to restore habitat for steelhead, lamprey, and trout. Her life changed dramatically in 2006 when she sailed away on her first tall ship, the Lady Washington. By 2010, she had racked up 460 sea days and a 100-ton inland master’s license. Jennifer’s choice to join NOAA was motivated by a desire to be an explorer—go further, learn more, perfect skills—and to give something back to this planet that has given her a great home all these years.

Ensign Leslie Flowers

Ensign Flowers was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia and spent her summers sailing centerboard boats on Smith Mountain Lake fostering her love of the water. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Materials Science with a minor in Chemistry from Virginia Tech. Following graduation she moved to the Virginia Beach area and worked for heavy highway and site-development company. Ensign Flowers also volunteered with the Tidewater Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help further breast cancer research and awareness. She also enjoys a good mystery novel and ballroom dancing. Ensign Flowers is excited to be starting a new chapter in her life. As part of the NOAA Corps she looks forward to the helping study the world in which she lives while serving her country.

Ensign Shannon K. Hefferan

ENS Hefferan grew up south of the city of Pittsburgh in Venetia, PA. She attended Penn State University and received her BS in Meteorology in December 2009. During her time at Penn State she worked in the Pennsylvania Climate Office, was a member of the Campus Weather Service, and studied abroad for a summer semester at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. In the summer of 2009, she received an internship with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, AK. She worked at both the Forecasting Center and the Regional Headquarters. ENS Hefferan surveyed the call-in forecasts phone lines for the NWS, became a certified upper air observer, and worked the Public Desk for both day and night shifts. In ENS Hefferan’s spare time she enjoys bicycling, creative writing, and cheering on the Pittsburgh Penguins. After learning about the NOAA Corps from a few current officers, ENS Hefferan knew that the NOAA Corps would be a perfect fit for her. Traveling around the world, helping people, and science are her passion and she can’t wait to experience this new way of life.

Ensign Anthony R. Klemm

ENS Klemm grew up in the Mojave Desert town of Ridgecrest California, and later in Clearwater Florida. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Florida, with a concentration in surface and groundwater hydrology. In between attending UF, he served a two year volunteer mission in Switzerland, western Austria, and southern Germany, where he had the opportunity to polish not only his leadership, but his German language skills as well. As an undergraduate, ENS Klemm spent two summers as an engineering intern with Raytheon working on various projects in their Environmental Test Engineering and Failure Analysis Departments. After Graduating, ENS Klemm moved with his wonderful wife and one year old daughter to Jacksonville, Florida to teach Earth & Space Science at an inner-city high school. While he enjoyed this rewarding, albeit challenging experience, he could not pass up the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of the NOAA Corps. Outside of school and work, ENS Klemm's favorite pass-time is to play with his daughter, Emma Kate, and his best friend-- his wife Ashlee.

Ensign Sarah Lewis

ENS Sarah Lewis was born in Plano, Texas but grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Since childhood, she has always loved being outdoors and grew up catching frogs in the local creeks, sailing a Hobie Cat on Lake Michigan (and righting the often-capsized Hobie Cat). ENS Lewis is a certified Rescue Diver and enjoys SCUBA diving any chance she can get. In addition to diving, she enjoys world travel. She studied Spanish while living in Guatemala for a summer and studied French Political Culture while traveling around France in college. She has climbed Devils Tower in Wyoming, gone SCUBA diving on the beautiful reefs of Belize and Australia, and climbed glaciers in Argentina and Alaska. Inspired by her lifetime hero, fictional character Dirk Pitt, she has always had an intense interest in the ocean despite being in a landlocked state. She graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2007 with a Bachelors degree in Biology and Greek and Roman Studies. In May 2007 she had the opportunity to work as an assistant scientist aboard the University of Miami’s R/V F. G. Walton Smith out of Miami, Florida. It was here that she became hooked on life at sea and continued aboard the Walton Smith as a deckhand, safety officer, and assistant scientist.

Ensign Richard Park

ENS Richard “Jamie” Park was born and raised in the town of Duluth, Georgia just outside of Atlanta. During the summer of 2002, he moved to Tampa, Florida to attend the University of South Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Science. ENS Park learned to windsurf at a very young age, competing around the southeast United States until he left home for college. While at USF, ENS Park competed as a member of the USF Co-Ed sailing team. As he completed his time with the sailing team, he began coaching a group of young sailors, ranging in age from eight to eighteen, at the Davis Island Youth Sailing Foundation, a non-profit organization based out of the Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa. He continued to compete on larger sailboats during his four years coaching the youth sailors, always seizing the opportunity to enjoy the competitiveness and comradery that is prevalent within the sport. ENS Park hopes to expand on the small boat skills he gained while coaching during his career with the NOAA Corps. His wife, Susan, is looking forward to a new adventure with their first young daughter, Bethany Grace, and their next child, due in October of this year. ENS Park is truly excited to be a part of an organization with a mission geared towards the stewardship of our planet.

Ensign Sam Peterson

ENS Peterson joined the NOAA Corps via Tempe, AZ. He graduated from the University of Utah in 2002 with a B.S. in Mathematics. After which he received an MA in Mathematics from Arizona State University in 2005, where he also met his future wife Monika. After graduation, ENS Peterson began searching for a career with the federal government. After securing a NOAA officer position, ENS Peterson had joyfully terminated his career with IRS and is currently looking for more excitement and service to his country. He is looking forward to pursuing adventure and challenge associated with working aboard a NOAA vessel.

Ensign Joseph Phillips

ENS Phillips was born in Norfolk, Virginia and grew up in Mocksville, North Carolina. Since he was a child he has been fascinated with weather, even going so far as to run outside to watch thunderstorms. Later, ENS Phillips attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville and graduated in 2009 with a concentration in Weather Forecasting and Climatology with a minor in Math. In the summer of 2007, ENS Phillips was accepted into the National Science Foundation funded Hurricane Research Experience for Undergraduates program through the University of South Florida Honors College and Office of Undergraduate Research. His research presentation, focusing on Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone trends and causes of their interannual variability, won him 2nd place in the Social Aspects of Hurricanes: Preparation, Response and Recovery Undergraduate Research Symposium in August of 2007. Later that year, ENS Phillips was granted the opportunity to work as a civilian with the U.S. Navy at Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Detachment as a meteorological technician. His primary responsibilities were to produce long-range marine forecasts and create climate briefs and presentations for a variety of land stations and coastal areas around the world. Before graduating, he also participated in many AMS student chapter events, including forecasting competitions and outreach programs, and was also active in school intramural sports programs. Upon graduation, ENS Phillips worked at the local YMCA as a child-care counselor, mentor, tutor, and big brother to the children of his community. His hobbies include random adventures, working out, sports, hiking, camping, reading and watching movies. ENS Phillips is currently looking forward to the exciting new career that NOAA has in store for him.

Ensign Andrea Proie

ENS Proie was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She attended Semester at Sea in fall 2002 and fell in love with the concept of the world and the sea as a platform for a classroom. She enjoys life on the water and appreciates other cultures. In 2006 Ms. Proie completed an internship with the Student Conservation Association, an Americorps program. She led invasive species removal and habitat restoration projects for New York State Parks throughout the Taconic region. After college ENS Proie was employed with a small company performing geophysics and environmental services. She traveled frequently for this profession and has completed hundreds of geophysical surveys in the CONUS along with Alaska and Nova Scotia. ENS Proie is a participant in a volunteer program which promotes young professionals to become involved in their community, and she looks forward to continue volunteering in various cities throughout her NOAA career. Ms. Proie eagerly awaits her future with the NOAA Corps and the opportunity to lead and serve the United States of America as a steward to the oceans and atmosphere.

Ensign Felix Rivera

ENS Rivera was born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. He graduated from Jarvis Christian College (Texas) with a BS in biology and a minor in chemistry. While attending college he played outfield and first baseman for his school’s baseball team, the Bulldogs. Upon graduating, he returned to Puerto Rico to spend time with his family, where he became interested in pursuing a career that is both adventurous and environmentally focused. Prior to joining the NOAA Corps Rivera was awarded a position with a Puerto Rican AA baseball team, but respectfully declined in order to report to BOTC. His hobbies include baseball, lifting, hunting and reading. He is also a certified SCUBA diver (PDIC) and hopes to one day become a NOAA dive officer. Rivera is looking forward to a unique, exciting career that will allow him to be of service to his country and the environment.

Ensign David Rodziewicz

ENS Rodziewicz was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He attended the United States Coast Guard Academy for two years before earning his BS in Finance and Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rodziewicz worked almost two years in the financial services industry as a stock analyst with Morningstar before accepting an appointment to BOTC. His interest in science, thirst for adventure, and desire to serve drew him to a life in the NOAA Corps. He enjoys climbing (rock, ice, and alpine), camping, running, swimming, traveling, reading, and tea. He is also SCUBA certified (PADI) and is looking forward to the possibility of becoming a NOAA diver. Rodziewicz is excited to serve with such dedicated and diverse group of people and is looking forward to an adventurous career in the NOAA Corps.

Ensign Timothy Sinquefield

ENS Sinquefield was raised in Clinton, Mississippi and earned a degree in biology from the University of Southern Mississippi. He enlisted in the Coast Guard soon after college and served on the US Coast Guard Cutter DALLAS in Charleston, South Carolina and was primarily involved with drug and migrant interdiction. He went on to attend officer training and served aboard and decommissioned the cutter SEDGE in Homer, Alaska servicing aids to navigation. He later served as operations officer and was a plankowner of cutter HICKORY . His last assignment with the Coast Guard was with Pacific Area Intelligence in Alameda, CA. ENS Sinquefield left the Coast Guard in 2005 and travelled to China to teach conversational English in Gaungxi Province after which he returned to the US and worked offshore for a commercial dive and salvage company in New Orleans. Missing the camaraderie of working on a ship’s crew, ENS Sinquefield joined NOAA as a wage mariner and served aboard the MACARTHUR II in 2008. He found NOAA’s missions to be fascinating and greatly enjoyed the work atmosphere found in NOAA’s corporate culture. As a newly commissioned NOAA corps officer, ENS Sinquefield looks forward to getting back to sea in support of oceanographic research.

Ensign Daniel Smith

ENS Smith was born and raised in north-central Minnesota. He recently graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BS in Geological Engineering and Mathematics minor. Over the years, his summer employment has taken him from the shores of Lake Superior all the way to Alaska. He also spent five weeks taking a class in the Black Hills of South Dakota studying surface water, groundwater, and geomechanics. As a senior at the University of North Dakota, ENS Smith worked in a research lab with one of his professors helping to determine the fracturing of the Bakken Formation in western North Dakota. His interests include outdoor activities such as backpacking and fishing, playing a variety of sports, and exploring the world around him. His background in the sciences and outdoors has made ENS Smith extremely excited for his new career with the NOAA Corps. He is glad to know that while he is with the NOAA Corps he will not only be able to contribute to science, but also serve his country along the way.

Ensign Larry Thomas

ENS Thomas is from Jacksonville, Alabama where he attended Jacksonville State University. While at JSU he earned a degree in Marine Biology in 2004, and then started graduate school in January 2005. ENS Thomas is from a military family with his mother doing 20 years in the army and his father doing 22 years. ENS Thomas has interest in marine fisheries, coral reef ecology and marine behavior. In his spare time he enjoys riding his Triumph Daytona 600 sport bike and playing golf. His prior experiences include working as a fisheries observer for the NOAA lab in Galveston Texas. As an undergraduate and graduate student he volunteered as a guest biologist onboard the NOAA ships Gordon Gunter and Oregon II out of Pascagoula, Mississippi.

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