NOAA Corps Basic Officer Training Class 99 at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. First row (starting front left): ENS Washburn, ENS Kondel, ENS Garcia, ENS Dowling. Second row: ENS Chrobak, ENS Lawrence-Slavas, ENS Mowitt, ENS Kroening, ENS Peltzer, ENS Taylor. Last row: ENS Seifert, ENS Eilers, ENS Hester, ENS Eggers, ENS Schwartzstein, ENS Pierce.
Ensign Nicholas Chrobak
ENS Nicholas Chrobak is from Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.S. in Geology this year. ENS Chrobak believes that the NOAA Corps will be an excellent way to explore the scientific community while being able to travel. He enjoys hiking, baseball, and rock and mineral collecting. For a change of scenery, he hopes to work on the east coast.
Ensign Jennifer Dowling
ENS Jennifer Dowling travelled to BOTC 99 from her current home of Anchorage, Alaska. She graduated with a B.S. in Geography from New Mexico State University, and has served as a cartographer for the United States Geological Survey- National Mapping Division in both Denver and Anchorage. ENS Dowling sought a commission in the NOAA Corps as an excellent way to shift into charting the oceans rather than mapping the land. ENS Dowling’s hobbies include fencing, judging Science Olympiads, traveling with her husband, baking, and playing with her hedgehog, "Little Michael Cole." She hopes to be posted to the hydrographic survey ship Rainier for her first 2 years of sea duty.
Ensign Roger Eggers
ENS Roger Eggers lived in Los Angeles, California before arriving at BOTC 99. He graduated with a B.A. in Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1997, and a B.S. in Marine Transportation from the California Maritime Academy (CMA) in May of 2000. ENS Eggers earned his USCG Third Mate’s License while at CMA. He joined the NOAA Corps because of his interest in working for the government in a scientific and research capacity. As he says, NOAA’s mission “fits perfect.” He enjoys S.C.U.B.A diving, sailing, snow skiing, and weight training.
Ensign Erik Eilers
ENS Erik Eilers is from Clarksburg, Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Physical Science with emphasis in engineering, mathematics and meteorology. While in college he spent his summers as a beach manager on the eastern shore of Maryland. ENS Eilers interest in NOAA stems from his desire to travel and use his degree in the field rather than in an office. His father was a pilot of a P-3 Orion for the NOAA Corps, and has shared many interesting stories about his career, which helped motivate ENS Eilers into joining the corps. He enjoys road and mountain bike racing, surfing, skateboarding, camping and diving.
Ensign Reina Garcia
ENS Reina Garcia was raised near Seattle, Washington where she earned her SCUBA and Private Pilot's license by 1993. In 1997, after several research cruises aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, she graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Oceanography. She has worked in Alaska as a field assistant for the Fisheries Research Institute, and in March of 1998 began work as an oceanographer for the Naval Oceanographic Office in Stennis, Mississippi. At the beginning of 2000, she got the 'travel bug' and left her job to backpack around Europe and the Middle East. Somewhere around Spain, she learned by email that she was accepted into the NOAA Corps. She looks forward to combining her love of science and the sea with the active, traveling military-type lifestyle of the Corps. ENS Garcia hopes to follow her sea duty with an assignment working on habitat restoration issues.
Ensign Richard Hester
ENS Richard Hester graduated from Geogia Tech in Atlanta with a B.S. in International Affairs, minoring in physics. He spent a year and a half as Program Coordinator of the Chattooga Conservancy, an organization concerned with the "ecosystem management" pilot project undertaken on the southern Appalachian forest watershed of the Chattooga National Wild and Scenic River. In just under four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, he served aboard the medium endurance cutter ACTIVE in Port Angeles WA, and the patrol boat GALVESTON ISLAND and buoy tender SASSAFRAS in Apra Harbor Guam. Discharged as a Quartermaster First Class and a qualified underway Officer of the Deck, ENS Hester intends to use his seagoing skills to support NOAA Corps missions. Eventually he hopes to pursue graduate studies and work in the Office of Global Programs of OAR.
Ensign Jessica Kondel
ENS Jessica Kondel is from Greensburg, Pennsylvania and earned a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Oceanography from Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). While at FIT, she conducted extensive research in water quality and environmental impacts of local rivers and streams. After leaving FIT, she began work on a Master's degree in Geoenvironmental Science at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. During her studies at Shippensburg, ENS Kondel continued to work in the field of local watershed management on a project of stream restoration during an internship with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Her hobbies include S.C.U.B.A diving, hiking, and travelling.
Ensign Stephen Kroening
ENS Stephen Z. Kroening traveled to BOTC 99 from his hometown of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota after graduating in May with a B.S. in Meteorology and a B.A. in Communications Studies from the University of Nebraska. While at the University of Nebraska, ENS Kroening conducted snow depth and snow cover research and data analysis for the Nebraska State Climate Center. He also worked in television with an internship as an on-air meteorologist at KRDO TV13 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. ENS Kroening believes that a career in the NOAA Corps will be challenging, adventurous, and most of all, fun. He is hoping to one day fly a P-3 Orion into a hurricane.
Ensign Noah Lawrence-Slavas
ENS Noah Lawrence-Slavas is from Shutesbury, Massachusetts and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in May 2000. He expresses his interest in the NOAA Corps as an “intense” interest in oceanography and environmental issues. ENS Lawrence-Slavas enjoys water sports, especially sailing, hiking, skiing, and boat building.
Ensign Bill Mowitt
ENS Bill Mowitt grew up in Arlington,Virginia, and earned a B.A. in history from Williams College. While there, he attended the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program and developed an interest in performing science at sea. After working briefly as an envrionmental consultant and sailing on tall ships, he attended graduate school at the University of Maryland. ENS Mowitt recieved a Masters degree in Marine-Estuarine Envrionmental science after writing a thesis on the Bay Anchovy's effect on Chesapeake Bay plankton communites, and then he worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources writing fishery management plans. ENS Mowitt is interested in serving on a fisheries vessel and enjoys a slew of outdoor activies as well as boat-building and sailing.
Ensign Tom Peltzer
ENS Tom Peltzer came to BOTC 99 from his hometown of Andale, Kansas. His career moved closer to the ocean when he received a B.S. in Marine Science from Texas A&M University at Galveston in 1993, and a Third Mate’s license as well. He served 3 years on active duty in the Navy as the Air Transfer Officer and 2nd Division officer on the USS INDEPENDENCE CV-62. ENS Peltzer feels that the NOAA Corps is the best fit for his education and nautical training.
Ensign William Pierce
ENS William Pierce hails from Tampa, Florida before coming to BOTC 99. He graduated from the University of South Florida in May 2000 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Before serving as a forest ranger for 4 ½ years, he gained computer experience throughout college as a computer technician. ENS Pierce sought a commission in the NOAA Corps because he wished to do both science and service in the field on hydrography. He hopes to be stationed on one of NOAA’s hydrography platforms, particularly the Whiting. He enjoys snorkeling, reading, hiking, racquetball, travelling, and boating.
Ensign Jason Seifert
ENS Jason Seifert came to BOTC 99 from his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He earned a B.S. in Geography in 1997 and a Masters in Geographic Information Services from the University of Minnesota in May 2000. ENS Seifert has worked at the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC), a NOAA/National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, Minnesota. He sought a commission in the NOAA Corps to experience a variety of assignments along with hydrography and service in Antarctica. His hobbies include downhill skiing, basketball, and quilting.
Ensign Jeffrey Taylor
ENS Jeffrey Taylor hails from Tampa, Florida. He holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of South Florida with a concentration in Marine Zoology. He has prior military service in the Air Force, where he served as a medical technician. He has a wife, Stephanie, and two children: Marley, age 6, and Noah, age 2. ENS Taylor joined NOAA to further his biological studies and to enjoy a career with a close association with the ocean. His hobbies include S.C.U.B.A. diving, surfing, fishing, maintaining salt-water aquariums and playing the guitar.
Ensign Jennifer Washburn
ENS Jennifer Washburn is from Orlando, Florida. She recently graduated with departmental honors from Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences. While at school she assisted with many research projects and also had an internship as a park geologist at White Sands National Park in New Mexico. ENS Washburn sought a commission with NOAA because she feels it is the best way to support and contribute to the scientific community through research and leadership. Her hobbies include camping, yoga, and experiencing new things.