For More Information

NOS Programs

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries


podcast iconWhat is a marine sanctuary?audio podcast

Explore: National Marine Sanctuary System


Meet: Sharon Sirkis

Program Analyst, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

As a program analyst in the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) Outreach and Education Division, I am a member of an amazing team of professionals. My duties range from collecting 28 weekly accomplishment reports from our sanctuary sites and headquarters and compiling them into a single document for the ONMS staff, NOS, and NOAA, to subtitling sanctuary videos and working with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation in support of outreach activities. I’m also responsible for keeping Sanctuary Sam, our “spokes-sea lion,” alive, well, and out telling people about the beauty, and the importance, of national marine sanctuaries. Education is the key to ocean literacy.

Sharon Sirkis

What do you like most about working at NOS?

It is an honor and a privilege to work with the ONMS staff here at headquarters, and to be able to work with and meet many of my colleagues in the field. To see such dedication and passion in their work assures me that these treasured places will be protected for future generations.

What is the hardest part of your job?

I would say that the most frustrating part of my job is that due to a lack of funding, my computer is very old. As a result, I am often dependent on other staff to help me complete specific tasks.

What is your educational background?

Each and every day of my 35 years of experience at NOAA was gained on the job – none of which could I ever have received in a classroom. 

What inspired your interest in the ocean and coasts?

I grew up spending vacations at the beach, and have always been a serious animal lover.

How did you end up working at NOAA?

My aunt was a long-time NOAA employee before me, and when she heard that I was looking for a job, she explained how to look for a job here. When my longtime supervisor, Dan Basta, became the director of ONMS about 10 years ago, he asked me to come here with him. As his executive assistant, I kept his busy schedule, dealt with his voluminous correspondence, and managed the never-ending demands on his time. From there, I moved into the Outreach and Education Division.

What advice do you have for young people wanting a career in the "ocean realm"?

Take any and all opportunities to get hands-on experience in your area of interest. Follow your passion – and work hard to make it a reality.