Commissioned Officer, Chief of Staff, National Ocean Service
As a 21-year Commissioned NOAA Corps officer, my primary focus has been on helping NOAA perform well operationally. Over time, I’ve been involved in ship, small boat, and diving operations; remote field operations; flight operations; and office management all across NOAA (not just NOS).
Captain Michele Finn began her career as a pilot in a NOAA Twin Otter, then advanced through the ranks to become the first female Gulfstream-IV hurricane surveillance jet pilot. Here she sits in the cockpit of the G-IV.
I’ve enjoyed the diversity of my NOAA Corps career. NOAA has afforded me the opportunity to be in a continual learning environment…there is never a dull or predictable moment.
The hardest part of my job has been helping NOAA accomplish mission objectives that are always competing for limited resources: funding, platform availability, personnel time.
B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston; M.S. in Zoology from University of Hawaii; and a Master’s Certificate in Aviation and Aerospace Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Growing up, my parents only had one to two weeks of vacation time TOTAL each year. But, both loved spending time exploring coastal areas and the open ocean. So, as a family, we planned and executed a yearly excursion to the shore.
The NOAA Corps recruited actively at Texas A&M University at Galveston, showing a pretty exciting video of operational support activities. By that time, I had realized that I liked operating the platforms and equipment during research projects.
No matter what career you want in life, pay attention to learning all you can about math, science, and computer technology.
The success of a team is more important that an individual’s own success…have not found an exception to this concept.