Members of NOAA Corps Basic Officer Training Class 130 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, including (top to bottom, left to right) ENS Lyle I. Robbins, ENS James C. Freed, ENS Alexander W. Creed, ENS Eric C. Fritzsche, ENS Andrew J. Fullerton, ENS Daniel E. Jessurun, ENS Nicholas J. Azzopardi, ENS Jackson Vanfleet-Brown, ENS Brian S. Caldwell, ENS Emma M. Ethier, ENS Patrick E. Pope, ENS Hayley A. Betker, ENS Nicholas DeProspero, ENS Taylor A. Krabiel, ENS Kevin A. Tennyson, ENS Airlie G. Pickett, CDR Keith Golden (Commanding Officer of the NOAA Corps Officer Training Center), ENS Alexandria E. Andonian
Ensign Alexandria E. Andonia
Ensign Alexandria E. Andonian grew up in Brighton, Michigan and graduated from San Francisco State University earning a B.S. in atmospheric sciences with a concentration in meteorology. She also earned her certificate of weather study and was the vice president for the student chapter of the American Meteorological Society. It was during college Ensign Andonian knew she wanted to work for NOAA. After graduation, she took an academic break and joined the Birthright Armenia Program and volunteered through the Armenian Volunteer Corps. She spent time with local farmers processing data for butterfly research, and was primarily involved with the Armenian State Hydrometeorological Monitoring Service. At the HydroMet Center, she taught forecasting techniques using atmospheric profiles and helped program a local WRF-GFS (localized forecasting tool) for the region.
Ensign Nicholas J. Azzopardi
Ensign Nicholas J. Azzopardi graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with a B.S. in Engineering with a focus in climate and meteorology. As an undergraduate, he played and served as an executive officer for the University of Michigan Rugby Football Club, and was active in the student chapter of the American Meteorological Society. He has worked as an intern at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Here Ensign Azzopardi worked with systems engineers on the Joint Polar Satellite System flight team to develop tools to refine the process of analyzing microwave sounder data. Additionally, Ensign Azzopardi spent a summer at the South African National Space agency where he completed a project analyzing ionospheric scintillation data across Africa.
Ensign Hayley A. Betker
Prior to joining the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, Ensign Hayley A. Betker was an Environmental Emissions and Application Engineer for Ford Motor Company working in Detroit, Michigan. Prior to working for Ford she was an Environmental Engineering intern at BP-Husky Toledo Refinery and an intern for Stantec Environmental Consulting in Okemos, Michigan.
Ensign Betker graduated from Michigan State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. Throughout college she was a board member of the Environmental Engineering Student Society and the lead design engineer for the Engineers Without Borders MSU Student Chapter where she was a part of the design team for two implementation trips to Tanzania, Africa and El Balsamar, El Salvador.
Ensign Brian S. Caldwell
Ensign Brian S. Caldwell began his career with NOAA as a wage mariner aboard NOAA Ship Rainier. Prior to joining NOAA, Ensign Caldwell served 10 years in the United States Army as both a special operations infantryman and an elite U.S. Army paratrooper. He earned the Bronze Star and Joint Services Commendation Medal for Valor. Ensign Caldwell began his career at sea in Miami, Florida as a professional mariner and diver. He served as a captain and instructor, teaching sailing, fishing, marine biology and astronomy for various organizations.
Ensign Caldwell graduated from Miami Dade College Honors Program in 1996 with an A.S. in Biology. Additionally, he attended Georgetown University where he earned a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Physics in 1999. He was captain of the Georgetown Sailing Team and completed research work in Abaco, Bahamas studying the population density of long-spined sea urchins. In 2000, he attended the University of Wales’ School of Ocean Science on the Isle of Anglesey in the United Kingdom. He conducted graduate research in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam, discovering ways of optimizing the aquaculture productivity for mangrove crabs. While serving in the U.S. Army, Ensign Caldwell also conducted graduate work in Military History and a post baccalaureate program in Italian Studies.
Ensign Caldwell has been a professional mariner and diver for 25 years. He is a Master Scuba Diver Trainer and holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100 Ton License.
Ensign Alexander W. Creed
Prior to reporting to the NOAA Corps Officer Training Center in July 2017, Ensign Alexander W. Creed was a professional diver, as well as a vegetation management coordinator and project manager working for Duke Energy in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Ensign Creed graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2016 with a B.S. in Marine Science with a minor in Coastal Management. While at Eckerd, Ensign Creed was a member of the college’s maritime search and rescue team, which sparked an interest in a maritime career. This, coupled with Ensign Creed’s expose to NOAA at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory on Sandy Hook, New Jersey and the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg led to an interest in pursuing a career with the NOAA Corps.
Ensign Nicolas S. DeProspero
Ensign DeProspero graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. During his time at Hampden-Sydney, DeProspero interned as a marine educator at Roanoke Island Aquarium in Manteo, North Carolina in the summer of 2011 where he received his PADI dive certification and participated in the aquarium’s shark tank dives with the general public.
Following graduation, Ensign DeProspero worked for three years as a physical and environmental science and ecology teacher in Savannah, Georgia. While DeProspero worked as a teacher, he also volunteered in marine operations at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, Skidaway Island Institute of Oceanography, and the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension.
Ensign Emma M. Ethier
Ensign Emma M. Ethier graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in June 2017 with a B.S. in Marine Safety and Environmental Protection. Actively involved within the Regiment of Cadets, she was a member of the Regimental Band and Honor Guard, served as a platoon officer, squad leader, training and retention assistant, and was a captain of the track and field and volleyball teams. ENS Ethier interned with the Buzzards Bay Coalition located in Woods Hole, Mass. as the environmental outreach manager and oversaw the seasonal Discovery Center.
Ensign Ethier volunteered on the NOAA R/V Gloria Michelle in July 2017 prior to reporting for BOTC 130 during the annual Gulf of Maine Shrimp Survey.
Ensign James C. Freed
Ensign James C. Freed graduated magna cum laude with Dean’s Honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz in June 2017 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution Biology after transferring from Santa Rosa Junior College. While attending the junior college, Ensign Freed was a lab TA in evolution and zoology biology and volunteered at the Point Reyes Seashore National Park with intertidal abundance surveys as well as at UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab in the Williams’ Lab on eelgrass ecology. Before transferring to UC Santa Cruz, he was accepted into the NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) Undergraduate Scholarship Program. During the EPP/MSI program, Ensign Freed interned at NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation in Silver Spring, Maryland and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Fisheries Ecology Division in Santa Cruz, CA.
Ensign Eric C. Fritzsche
Prior to reporting to the NOAA Corps Officer Training Center in July 2017, Ensign Eric C. Fritzsche was working with the Forest Service as a wild land firefighter. He also worked with the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum conducting data analysis for an inter-tidal monitoring program along California’s Central Coast, supported in part by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Ensign Fritzsche graduated with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2015, earning a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he began working for an engineering firm just outside of Aachen, Germany, conducting customer testing and validation work. During college, he held a number of engineering internships and traveled to Kenya to assist in the development of solar powered, submersible pumps.
Ensign Fritzsche holds multiple certifications including EMT, PADI Open Water Diver, and FFT2 Firefighter.
Ensign Andrew J. Fullerton
Ensign Fullerton graduated from Colby College in 2017 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science. Ensign Fullerton held several internships focused on marine science, his most recent being in the Humpback Whale Studies Program at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, MA. In his role, Ensign Fullerton spent most weeks of the summer aboard commercial whale watch vessels identifying individual whales and recording survey data. During his time as an undergraduate, Ensign Fullerton was published as a contributing author following an internship with the mission of creating an ecotourism guide to the Spanish Virgin Islands.
Ensign Daniel E. Jessurun
Ensign Jessurun graduated from the American Military University in 2016 with honors with a B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Sustainability. He has always had a connection to the ocean, our natural systems, and a desire to serve his country which led him to seek out career with the NOAA Corps.
Prior to reporting to the NOAA Corps Officer Training Center in July 2017, Ensign Daniel E. Jessurun spent 7 years in the U.S. Navy. Most recently he worked on staff for Commander, Submarine Pacific, HI as a first class Petty Officer and the Assistant Submarine Exercise Area Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest AOR. From January 2011 to December 2014, Ensign Jessurun served as a quartermaster and navigation supervisor aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana stationed in Bangor, WA.
Ensign Airlie G. Pickett
Ensign Airlie G. Pickett graduated from the University of Noth Carolina Wilmington in May, 2017 with a B.S. in Physical Oceanography and a minor in Mathematics. Ensign Pickett also holds certifications as an SDI/TDI Divemaster and the AAUS Advanced Scientific Diving Certification and has served as a volunteer scientific diver on multiple projects through various universities.
Ensign Taylor A. Krabiel
Ensign Krabiel graduated from University of Nevada, Reno as a dual major in Geology and Hydrogeology from the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering in December 2015. He received the top undergraduate hydrogeologist award for his graduating year.
Prior to reporting to the NOAA Corps Officer Training Center in July 2017, Ensign Krabiel was a high school science advisor at Innovation High School in Reno, Nevada. As a high school science advisor, he led classes in biology and environmental science to a group of enthusiastic scholars. Ensign Krabiel also spent multiple summers working in multiple mines throughout Nevada as a geologist. While in college he spent three years in the Nevada Seismology Lab as a Seismic Analyst analyzing and reporting thousands of earthquakes throughout the state of Nevada.
Ensign Patrick E. Pope
Ensign Patrick E. Pope graduated from Oregon State with a B.S. in Biology and also earned a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate from the University of Alaska. He served as an at sea fishery observer off the Oregon coast for two years and has over 150 days at sea as a fishery observer. He later served as a wildlife biologist for three years, tracking and monitoring different owl species along the Oregon coast. Ensign Pope also served with the Student Conservation Association and the AmeriCorps in Anchorage, Alaska where he worked with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on remote sensing and GIS projects. Ensign Pope developed a new methodology using image analysis to locate abandoned mine claims in interior Alaska. He also created a spatial database used by the BLM for tracking abandoned mines in Alaska.
Ensign Lyle I. Robbins
Before joining the NOAA Corps in July of 2017, Ensign Lyle I. Robbins was a boat captain and educator with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Baltimore Harbor Environmental Education Program. In addition, Ensign Robbins was an Associate Professor of Biology at Notre Dame Maryland University. During the winter, he also worked at the Patuxent National Wildlife Research Center, assisting with animal care for the Atlantic Seaduck Project.
Ensign Robbins graduated from the University of Maryland in 2009 with a B.A. in Economics and History, and completed his graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs with a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy in 2017. He served in the Peace Corps as an economic development consultant and extended for a third year as a regional leader in Panama. After returning, Ensign Robbins had the opportunity to work with NOAA scientists on restoration projects, and used NOAA fishery and buoy data for graduate research. This led to an interest in being a part of an organization dedicated to scientific discovery, public service, and protecting the earth’s oceans and atmosphere.
Ensign Robbins holds a US Coast Guard 50 Ton Inland Master’s License, is a Wilderness First Responder, and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
Ensign Kevin A. Tennyson
Before joining the NOAA Corps in July of 2017, Ensign Kevin A. Tennyson was a graduate research assistant in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.
Ensign Tennyson graduated from Oregon State University in 2016 with a M.S. in the Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres with a concentration in Physical Oceanography. He also earned a B.S. degree in Mathematics and Physics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2014. Ensign Tennyson applied to the NOAA Corps to serve his country, pursue scientific discovery, and seek adventure on the high seas.
Ensign Tennyson’s other areas of expertise include being a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and a NOLS WMI certified Wilderness First Responder, and holding an AIARE level 1 certification.
Ensign Jackson Vanfleet-Brown
Before joining the NOAA Corps in July of 2017, Ensign Jackson Vanfleet-Brown worked in the national wildlife refuge of Southeast Farallon Island. He supported long-term studies of breeding seabirds as an intern for Point Blue Conservation Science. Served in Channel Islands National Park as a wildlife monitoring technician focused on the endemic Island Fox. Before that, he served as a wilderness ranger in Stanislaus National Forest. All these experiences instilled a passion for wilderness in ENS Vanfleet-Brown, who started his stewardship career in the frontcountry. Between 2011 and 2015, he interned seasonally at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, restoring habitat by mapping and eradicating invasive plants. Aside from working in national parks and forests, ENS Vanfleet-Brown was employed as a field assistant to a land surveyor based in rural Washington.
ENS Vanfleet-Brown graduated Cum Laude from Carleton College in 2015 and was recognized with distinction in his major, geology. While building on his experience in scientific research and stewardship, his work experience, and family tradition, inspired him to pursue a career with NOAA.
ENS Vanfleet-Brown utilized his graphic design and writing skills to create information graphics published by the UC Berkeley Essig Museum of Entomology, Stanislaus National Forest, the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, and the Carleton College Voice.