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Meet LCDR Holly Jablonski
I grew up in southern New Jersey and spent time on the water there. My brother had a small boat. So I’d been out and about on boats and enjoyed that. When I went to college, I went to the Midwest, the great land-locked Midwest, and it was that point that I realized how much I missed being around water.
As far as an interest in ocean sciences, I’m not as much interested in, say marine biology, as technology and things like that. My degree is engineering, so I am interested in more of the applications of the engineering and technology and the things we can do with it on the water.
My background is in hydrography and when we were mapping, to see the things that were under the sea, that people don’t know about, you know, the shipwrecks and things like that. And now, working on Nancy Foster, which has a slightly different mission and you see the ROV work, and the corals and the fish and the work that they’re doing to track the endangered fish, they’re tagging them underwater. There’s so many interesting things that we’ve done. It’s hard to pick one particular thing.
If you’re looking for a good sea story, when I was an ensign, we found an uncharted wreck and we did a scuba dive on it to verify the depth on it and a pod of dolphins came by. So we’re sitting on the bottom at this uncharted wreck and here’s this pod of dolphins that are about twice the distance from me to you.
So there’s the really cool stuff and there’s the most fascinating thing you’ve done. The whole thing is pretty fascinating. There’s so much we don’t know about what’s under the sea.
My background has been hydrographic survey. I find it rewarding knowing that we’re contributing to the safe navigation of vessels, which directly affects the economy and we are under the Department of Commerce. So I find that rewarding. And the other work that we’ve done on Nancy Foster, the sustainable fisheries and things like that, everyone loves their seafood, right? So, I think what we do benefits the public. I think a lot people aren’t aware of how the things we do benefit them.
Also, specifically as commanding officer of the vessel, and as I’ve gotten further up in rank, a personal reward is knowing that I’m starting to gain more influence in being able to hopefully create positive situations and positive events for my people, my ship, and the organization as a whole.
A Unique Opportunity
The NOAA Corps is a very unique career path. And www.noaacorps.noaa.gov will give you information. If anyone, if young folks are interested in finding out more about the career, contact the recruiting branch. It’s in Silver Spring, Maryland. We only have two recruiters because we’re so small, but they’re happy to talk to people. It’s a very unique career opportunity.