Thursday, March 27, 2014

Student Profile: Daniel Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez is a PhD student at the University of Washington. Daniel's work focuses on viruses in Spring Chinook salmon. Read on to learn more about Daniel and his background.

1. What is your current research/position?
I am a graduate student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. My current investigation is underway with the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle, WA.
2. What sparked your interest in aquatic animal health?
I have always had an affinity for aquatic systems as well as the health sciences. While my undergraduate training and research background is in oceanography and marine ecosystems, my continued intrigue in the health sciences has made the field of aquatic animal health a perfect discipline to receive my graduate training in.
3. What has been your favorite fisheries-related job?
To date, my most memorable fisheries-related job was a summer position I held with the Watershed group at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Before this position, I had limited training in freshwater system sampling. I came away that summer with an in-depth understanding of the ecology of the various stream habitats used by Pacific salmonids.  

4. What do you like most about graduate/professional school?
I enjoy the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of my research. I also appreciate having access to and learning from those carrying out science in fields of fisheries and fish health.  

5. When and why did you first become involved with AFS and the FHS?
I first became involved with AFS as I neared completion of my Bachelor of Science degree. In my junior and senior year, I had the opportunity to attend the AFS - Alaska Chapter meetings as my research interests at the time were climate change and Alaska salmon productivity. Only since my transition to doing research in field of fish health did I become involved with the fish health section of AFS.

6. What are your long-term professional goals (FHS or otherwise)?
My immediate professional goal is to complete my PhD from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. Upon completion of my PhD, my training will span the fields of virology, fish ecology, and epidemiology making it possible to pursue a research career in any one of those disciplines. For now, “The world is my oyster” as they say. I hope that the coming years as PhD student will aid me in developing my long-term professional goals.