The Coral Reef Conservation Program is a partnership between the NOAA Offices that work on coral reef issues as a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and conserving coral reef ecosystems. Francisco contributes to the management and growth of the program through stakeholder engagement, coordination, and technical support.
Growing up in Puerto Rico and visiting the beach frequently with my family awakened in me a need to know more about the ocean. I watched documentaries and read books about the ocean, and snorkeling was my favorite activity. One day after a snorkeling trip when I was 8 or 9 years old, I walked out of the water and told my father I wanted to be a marine biologist, a path I followed until completion.
Throughout my education and early career I worked mostly on research oriented topics, but found myself involved in research towards management needs and program management through interactions with conservation stakeholders. Continuing on that path, I managed a university coral program, a state coral program, and am currently a member of the Strategic Evaluation and Assessment team for the Coral Reef Conservation Program.
One of the most rewarding experiences of my early professional career was when I started teaching at an environmental graduate program and helped students in their career development. As a mentor to some of these same students, I was provided with an opportunity to pay forward all the faith people had previously shown to me.
Always try to look at the big picture, keep an open mind, and try to understand all the underlying connections that link nature and human interactions.