Nominations are now open for BEYA’s 35th annual science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program, which will be held in February 2021.
Earlier this year, the National Marine Fisheries Service, an office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were pleased to celebrate Jonathan Molineaux (photo inset). He is a fisheries biologist and he received a Science Spectrum Trailblazer Award at the 2020 BEYA STEM conference.
Jonathan was nominated by NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, for creating new paths for others in science, research, technology, and development. In addition to his work protecting endangered and threatened marine species, Jonathan is the executive for NOAA’s Diversity Professional Advancement Working Group.
Through his membership in the employee resource group, he has planned and attended career day events for middle and elementary school students across Maryland to inspire a more diverse group of youth to become interested in the field of natural science.
In 2019, Jonathan assisted in leading the effort for NOAA to engage with the National Technical Association (NTA) during its 91st annual conference at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD. This included a panel discussion for undergrad and graduate students to recruit more underrepresented students into careers with NOAA.
“I became interested in STEM, specifically the natural sciences, at an early age,” Jonathan said. “My mom was a park manager for Oxon Hill Farm, a National Park located in Oxon Hill, Maryland. While I was a kid, I would spend hours patrolling the park, milking cows, feeding chickens, and exploring for new plants and animals along the park’s wooded trails. This experience gave me a deep yearning to learn more about the natural world and its complex ecological relationships.”
As a park guide with the National Park Service stationed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast D.C., Jonathan mentored young people that lived next to the park, teaching them about the plants and animals that inhabited the gardens. Also, Jonathan visited local schools to educate students on wetland ecosystems and their importance.
Jonathan says the best part about working for NOAA is the opportunity to learn something new each day.
“I am a fisheries biologist working specifically on Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act,” he said in a recent interview. “While conducting a Section 7 consultation on planned federal activity, I get to acquire a wealth of knowledge on multiple topics ranging from innovative technology used to map our Earth’s oceans to cutting-edge research programs aimed at recovering our nation’s endangered and threatened marine species,” he explained.
What advice would he give to upcoming STEM professionals?
“Never give up, and continue to stay curious and fascinated about your respective STEM interest. Also, maintain hope and do not be afraid to seek out mentorship from others when you come upon roadblocks. There will always be obstacles during your career, but optimism and mentors will guide you,” he said.