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What is your job in the Office of Ocean Exploration?

I actually came to the Office of Ocean Exploration initially to organize and coordinate operations. I did that for a couple of years, and now I work directly with the Ocean Exploration Director and essentially manage the office and work with the leads for each of our functional areas: people who focus on education, outreach, operations, data management, things like that. I consider myself kind of the person who helps keep these things together.

The Ocean Exploration program is very creative. There is a lot that we can do to further develop certain aspects of the program, such as allowing people to be creative within their positions. I feel that’s probably the most important aspect of my job - allowing that creativity to happen - and ensuring that the work gets done.


What is your background?

My background- my school background - is in physical geography. I received a degree from the University of Maryland in physical geography, primarily focusing on coastal geomorphology. It seems like a long stretch from people management skills, but it did give me the foundation in terms of the information and science that you need for a job like this, even though that was focusing on coastal processes and issues as opposed to much of the deep water work that we do. Still, once you pick up the language and understand some of the physics behind these different things, it’s easy to apply across the board. An important thing I learned in school as well is time management. That’s critical in the types of jobs we’re doing right now- being able to juggle several different tasks at once.

Related Links

John McDonough Profile


Please note that all OceanAGE Career content was current at the time that interviews were recorded; however, profiles are not being updated to reflect subsequent career changes.