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North Atlantic right whale #1950 and new calf © Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, taken under NOAA permit #26919. Aerial survey funded by NOAA Fisheries and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

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Women in science – Heidi

The women in science blog series aims to celebrate women in the science field in light of International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11.


Heidi Henninger

Gear Team Coordinator, Contractor with Integrated Statistics in support of NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Protected Species Division.

How long have you worked in marine science and/or conservation?

16 years. I’ve been in this position since August and before this I was a fishing industry representative.

Why is science important to you and how do you use science in your day-to-day role?

Science is important because it’s how we build our critical thinking and problem-solving skills, so we can address current challenges in the world.

Right now, I primarily do administrative work and outreach to fishermen. I work in collaboration with fishermen on sustainable fishing gear alternatives, such as on-demand gear testing. My job is a mixture of outreach, conservation, science communication, and management.

Who are your influences?

I feel a kinship with the women in the small New England fishing community.

What are your career goals?

My goal is to balance local fisheries and coastal economies with environmental conservation. I want to find a healthy balance between resources and sustainability.

I also want to make sure that the work I do has greater value and an impact on society. I want to work to live, not live to work.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I would share some quotes with my younger self.

“The difference between adventure and adversity is attitude.” ― Janet Evanovich

“To be kind is more important than to be right.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ― Epictetus

The last one is especially important in my role because I work on a big team and it’s important to actively listen and take in all the different viewpoints.

Lastly, I tell my daughter this all the time and she hates it but, if you're going to complain, then take the next step and effect change.

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