Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Profile: Nick Phelps

To better highlight FHS members, the Student Subcommittee has decided to revive the professional and student profiles that were formerly featured in the FHS newsletter. This month we're featuring Nick Phelps, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota and the former chair of the Student Subcommittee. Read on to learn more about Nick and his research.

1. What is your current research/position?
I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the UMN College of Veterinary Medicine.  While I have many research interests, my dissertation focuses on improving diagnostic capabilities and management of viral hemorrhagic septicemia.  

2. What sparked your interest in aquatic animal health?
I grew up on the lakes in northern Minnesota and decided early on I would pursue a career in fisheries.  In 2005, I was very lucky to be offered the opportunity to work with Dr. Andy Goodwin at the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff.  He is a great person, even better scientist, and his passion for the field of fish health was contagious. 

3. What has been your favorite fisheries-related job?
In 2007, I was hired to start a fish diagnostic service at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.  I have since become “the fish guy” in a lab dominated by the larger agriculture animals.  While this job has been challenging, it is a lot of fun – the people, the cases, and the research opportunities!  I really enjoy working on the challenging diagnostic cases that help increase production or solve a mysterious mortality event. 

4. What do you like most about graduate/professional school?
I have really enjoyed getting to follow through on a question from beginning to end.  In graduate school you get to ask the questions, develop a hypothesis, design and carryout a study, analyze the results, figure out why it didn’t work, try it again, and then present them back to the scientific community. 

5. When and why did you first become involved with AFS and the FHS?
I joined the American Fisheries Society in 2002, but didn’t really do anything until I became a member of the Fish Health Section in 2005.  To be honest, I first joined the FHS at the request of my advisor (Dr. Goodwin) and to get the discounted conference registration.  However, the opportunities (networking, presenting, leadership, etc) the section has given me have been essential to my professional development.  I would urge every advisor to ask their students to get involved with the Section.

6. What are your long-term professional goals (FHS or otherwise)?
My long-term professional goals are to pursue a career in academia.  I am really interested in combining a diagnostic service with both research and extension.  I will continue to be active in the FHS and look forward to an opportunity to serve in a leadership role.  

Thanks Nick! Check back next month when we'll featuring a fish health professional.

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