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Where Are They Now?

Matt Hudson receives a

Matt Hudson receives a "small footprint" Award at the "Making a Great Lake Superior" Conference from Liz LaPlante with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Keeping Track of Former Sea Grant-Funded Graduate Students

Which Sea Grant researcher did you work with as a graduate student and what did you work on?

I worked with Deb Swackhamer, professor of environmental chemistry, to get a master's degree in Water Resources Science from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I studied how pollutants like PCBs move from the atmosphere into water and then into fish tissue. My research suggested that bacteria play an important role in transferring contaminants from water to fish.

What do you do now?

I'm an environmental biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). I still work with contaminants in fish from Lake Superior and inland lakes, mainly in the form of data analysis and reporting with respect to human health. I also cooperate with the Lake Superior Binational Program.

The members of the 11 Chippewa Indian Tribes that support GLIFWC tend to eat a lot of fish. Depending on their choices, their exposure to contaminants can be high. We've found that lake herring and whitefish are the best Great Lakes species to eat since they are low in contaminants and high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for you.

How did your graduate work prepare you for your current job?

Graduate school was phenomenal. The things I'm doing now communicating science, analyzing data, organizing projects are very similar to what I did in graduate school.

Have you received any professional awards lately?

While I was pursuing my master's degree, I was awarded a student scholarship from the International Association for Great Lakes Research. I was also co-president of Water Resources Students in Action. Since graduating in 2004, I've been the president of the Midwest Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Oh, yes, and I also won a Small Footprint Award for bicycling to the "Making a Great Lake Superior" Conference.

Why do you think Sea Grant is a worthwhile organization?

Sea Grant made my graduate experience possible. I was able to get an advanced degree without being thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. Plus, Sea Grant is a very successful conduit for getting science to the public. Knowing how to share information broadly can be a huge obstacle for scientists.

What's your dream job?

I want to feel like my work makes a difference. I want to help to build a foundation that will provide safe and abundant resources for the future. Certainly I have those opportunities through GLIFWC.


By Sea Grant Staff
December 2007

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