To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11th February 2021, the Marine Institute is highlighting the many brilliant women who play transformative and ambitious roles in understanding, exploring, protecting and sustainably managing our oceans wealth.
The Marine Institute is profiling our female scientists, sharing their study and career paths, the work they do at the Marine Institute and the important contribution their work delivers.
Quality Manager, Marine Environment and Food Safety Services
What is your current role at the Marine Institute and what's involved in your daily work?
I am the Quality Manager, Team Leader for the Marine Institute and manage and oversee the quality management system we have in place for the Marine Environment Food Safety Sector. The laboratories are accredited to ISO17025 for testing (International Organisation for Standardisation). This involves managing a quality system with processes and standard operating procedures for all our accredited test methods. This quality system ensures confidence in the results produced and ensuring legislative requirements are met and allowing continual improvements in our laboratories. I also manage the ISO9001 certification for the Fish Health Unit Competent Authority.
What did you study and why?
I studied a Bachelor of Science in Analytical Science in Letterkenny Institute of Technology. I continued studying and carried out a PhD in Marine Biotoxins in 2006, "Factors affecting the concentration of domoic acid in king scallops (Pecten maximus)". This research work involved four years of laboratory work and writing with the support of the Marine Institute.
I then worked in the Environmental Protection Agency from 2006 to 2015, first as a Laboratory Technician and then as a Scientific Officer and Quality Manager.
An opportunity for the position of Quality Manager, Team Leader came up in the Marine Institute in 2015 and this has been my role for the past five years. I currently manage and oversee the quality management programme that has 55 people involved in the quality system.
What are your interests and passions?
Hillwalking and running are two of my outdoor interests. Just spending time outdoors and the views when hillwalking are spectacular. From the lakes to the ocean, there's always a different view every time I am in the mountains.
I also qualified as a Life and Executive Coach in 2020. This has allowed me to develop a new skill, and is a great way of changing conversations you have with people. It was a great experience to continue learning and developing and using this skill every day in the work environment.
What is the best thing about working in the Marine Institute? What do you enjoy most about your job?
In my current role, I really like the variety of the work I carry out. I love the management side of my role and I am still involved in the science - I have the best of both worlds. Also knowing that my role is assisting the seafood Industry and the public is really satisfying. The interaction and engagement with my colleagues definitely makes the job worthwhile.
What is something you think everyone should know about the ocean?
The ocean provides endless opportunities ranging from leisure to livelihoods.