Meet Brittany  Barbara

Brittany Barbara

Brittany Barbara was living at home, working three jobs and taking classes at St. Petersburg College to reach her goal of becoming a marine biologist. Now 27, Barbara has found that goal, after earning her bachelor's degree in Biology - with honors.

Barbara said her time at SPC was instrumental to scoring her dream job, as a Marine Fisheries Biologist at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.  

"I worked as a lab assistant in the Marine Biology and Biology labs all through my time as student," she said. "SPC gave me an education that my employers always seem amazed with. The diversity of topics and classes, and the depth of knowledge and understanding I have retained from them has helped me immensely."    

Barbara spends time in the lab analyzing underwater video from camera pods in the Gulf of Mexico, for the purpose of habitat description and to count and identify the fish species and abundance. She also looks at otoliths, small bones that reside in the inner ear of fish that aid them with equilibrium and hearing, to determine the fishes age and growth rate, which is crucial biological information for stock assessments for many recreationally and commercially important fish species. But her favorite part of her job is being in the field.  

"Any day on the water is a good day to me. I love being out there, getting my hands dirty - mostly slimy and covered in fish guts - and DOING science."  

Barbara credits professors Dr. Monica Lara and Dr. Heyward Mathews for their strong mentorship.  

"I became Dr. Lara's teaching assistant, she became the most influential part of my SPC career. She took me under her wing and her guidance and experiences helped me get even further than I ever imagined I could. She and Dr. Heyward Mathews created a small research group, where we started writing grants for research - and being awarded them! The opportunity to do that type of real research is rare for undergraduates anywhere. It was an incredible thing they did for us."  

In the future, Barbara plans to work towards her master's degree.  

"I hope to move up the ladder a bit at my current agency and someday lead my own research projects. As of right now, I am as happy as can be!"  

Name: Brittany  Barbara
Job Title: Marine Fisheries Biologist
Degree: Biology B.S. Degree
Employer: Fish and Wildlife Research Institute