Meet: Pam Rubin

Senior Writer-editor, NOS Communications & Education Division (CED)

As the senior writer-editor in NOS CED, I write all about NOS – its people, programs, projects, and past.

Pam Rubin

What do you like most about working at NOS?

How do I love my job? Let me count the ways: The topics we cover, the people I work with, the products we produce, and the important work that NOS and NOAA do for America, the American people, and the planet. Our work really matters, and I have the opportunity, every day, to ensure that we communicate that work as clearly and effectively as possible. This job utilizes all of my skills, and even though I've been doing it for more than 23 years, it remains both challenging and really, really fun.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Finding great illustrations for our web stories! You would think that in this digital age it would be a snap (so to speak), but it takes time and effort to find good clear photos and well-designed graphics, especially when you want to help readers understand technical topics.

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor's degree in English with minors in biology and French from Salisbury University on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It's been quite a while, but I'm still proud that I graduated summa cum laude.

What inspired your interest in the ocean and coasts?

There's a quart of saltwater (plus a schtickle 'o fresh) coursing through my veins. My father's people tongued oysters on the Chesapeake Bay for generations, and my grandfather fought for the watermen during the final years of the Chesapeake Oyster Wars in the 1940s and '50s. Dad's two oldest brothers were among the last of the region's "rack-of-eye" wooden boatwrights. My mother grew up in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and on the shores of Lake Michigan. For as long as I can remember, I've been obsessed with the ocean, the beach, shells, marine life, waves, tides, sand, flotsam, jetsam – all of it. All I ever wanted to be was a writer, and all I ever wanted to write about were the ceaseless wonders of the sea.

How did you end up working at NOAA?

In the spring of 1989 I was ready to move on from the national magazine where I had worked for six years, and one day, as I absent-mindedly perused the want ads in the weekly community newspaper, I read a small display ad: "Editor: National Ocean Service." I almost fell out of my chair! I mailed my resume that very afternoon, interviewed the following week, and got the job two weeks later. All of this was meant to be, obviously.

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

There's a book by Marsha Sinetar titled Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood. Read it. And whether young or "old," keep in mind, as I do, that "50 is the new 30"! Einstein labored on his Grand Unification Theory up until the day he died. Influential Pop Artist David Hockney, now in his mid-seventies, continues to paint prolifically. It's never too late to become what you are.