David Johnston is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Marine Conservation & Ecology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. As a kid, growing up miles from the ocean, he fell in love with the dazzling underwater photography brought into his living room by television. Today, he uses radio telemetry to get a more detailed image of the behavior of the ocean’s magnificent mammals.
Roland Kays started studying animals in a physics class. He thought he wanted to work in a genetic engineering lab but thought better of it when he saw a film about a zoologist peering into prairie dog mounds looking for burrowing owls. He switched his major to zoology and fell in love with mammals. Today, he keeps tabs on thousands of mammals in their natural habitats with the aid of new technology and citizen volunteers at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.
F. Joel Fodrie is a fisheries ecologist at the UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Science. He grew up fishing, shrimping, surfing, knee boarding, and goofing around a lot, but he didn’t think you could have a career in the ocean. A poster on a college bulletin board changed all that. Today, he is a fish detective, revealing the secret life of fish from beneath the water's surface.
Kat Walston just started an internship at the Brookhaven National Laboratory to study what box turtles do in the winter. She didn’t know she wanted to be a turtle wrangler when she grew up. That discovery was made at a summer camp focused on reptiles and amphibians called Slip Sliding Away hosted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Albert Rubin is a retired biological and agricultural engineer working to restore the soil—the living skin of planet Earth. As a boy, Dr. Rubin discovered that dried sludge made the orange trees in his neighborhood bloom and bear fruit. That science experiment led to a lifetime career in soil science. Although Dr. Rubin retired from the department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NCSU in 2004, that doesn’t mean he’s not working.