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Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services


MEET: Natalia Donoho

Lead Physical Scientist, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services

I am a Lead Physical Scientist and serve as a User Services Team Lead in the Oceanographic Division of NOS’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). As the front-line interface to the user community, the User Services Team provides the public with consultations, technical assistance, and other information on CO-OPS’s products and services, such as tide and tidal current predictions, water-level observations, tidal datums and other data required for efficient maritime commerce, sound coastal management, and recreation.

Natalia Dohono


What do you like most about working at NOS?

What I enjoy most about my job is interacting with different people and resolving their questions and problems, as this pushes me to improve my customer service skills and constantly learn new things. I have learned how to become effective in any group by handling high-priority situations, last-minute changes, and a large variety of unpredictable customer questions.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of my job is getting up very early in the morning for a long commute!

What is your educational background?

I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical oceanography from M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University.

What inspired your interest in the ocean and coasts?

I read a 1923 novel about the sea, adventures, and love, titled Scarlet Sails, by Alexander Grin, and at the age of 12, I told my parents that I wanted to sail around the world. Unfortunately, due to a longstanding superstition in Russia, women were often forbidden from sailing on vessels. It is believed that women are bad luck on ships. So I explored another option, and chose oceanography.

How did you end up working at NOAA?

Career paths are unpredictable, and it is impossible to know exactly where life will lead. Upon arriving in the States, I found a job as a scientific editor, which led me to an opening at NOAA as a contractor. When a government job opened up, I applied and got it.

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

Never stop learning. Take classes, go to seminars, learn from people who share similar experiences, and this will help you achieve the success you want. Dream big. Believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to, and connect with like-minded professionals on both the professional and social levels. Create a healthy balance between your professional and personal lives. I believe that health and family support are vital to achieving overall success.