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Alumni Spotlight: Fishing for Sustainability

By Katie Sigeti ’06, philanthropy manager, alumni programs
Lifer Jocelyn Lin Drugan ’98 helps forge sustainable practices in the global seafood industry.
Growing up in Southern California can have a myriad of effects: the ability to play outside year-round, sandals as one’s primary footwear, and a strong aversion to cold weather. For lifer Jocelyn Lin Drugan ’98, it meant a passion for fish science.

After graduating from LJCDS, Jocelyn took this keen interest to Yale University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in ecology and evolutionary biology. She then pursued a year-long Fulbright Fellowship in Japan, studying tuna sashimi production through visits to fish markets and tuna aquaculture facilities.

From there, Jocelyn entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, where she researched the evolution and genetic population structure of wild Pacific salmon populations. Jocelyn then took a post-doctoral position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, working at their Alaska Fisheries Science Center to develop a genetic simulation model to help confirm oceanographic models of larval fish dispersal.

Wishing to stay in the Pacific Northwest, she began a position at the Wild Salmon Center, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, that does larger habitat-related conservation work. It was through this role that she began work in sustainable seafood with Ocean Outcomes, an international nonprofit organization she helped launch while at the Wild Salmon Center.

Ocean Outcomes (O2) works directly with communities and the seafood industry to help fisheries become more environmentally and socially sustainable. Working with international organizations like Conservation International and seafood companies such as Bumble Bee, O2 develops and implements projects that improve the sustainability of fisheries globally.

In her role as analytics team director and senior fisheries scientist, Jocelyn has made site visits to countries including Guyana, where she worked with local groups to implement more sustainable fishery management practices, and Japan, where she worked with a coho salmon farmer in Miyagi Prefecture whose farm had been destroyed by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, to meet best practice standards and obtain Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification.

“What I find most fulfilling about my job is the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world, including fishers trying to sustain their communities’ livelihoods and cultural traditions and individuals working to reduce harmful impacts on local ecosystems. These experiences are humbling and inspiring. One bonus is that I've gotten to enjoy some really delicious seafood in the process,” she shares.

Looking back on her years at LJCDS, Jocelyn recalls with fondness her supportive teachers. “The teachers and staff at Country Day instilled in me a deep appreciation for learning across disciplines, from reading with Susan Middleton and writing with Chris Schuck to history with Richard Nelson and Doc Stevenson, science with Tom Perrotti and art with Marsha Boston. They fostered an environment that built both my self-confidence and awareness that there's always more to learn.”

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