Data Analyst & Fisheries Scientist
Meet Danielle Zaveta – the 2nd female scientist featured in our Women Doing Science blog series!
What is your current job title(s) and position(s)?
Right now, I am a Project Manager and Data Analyst at a private consulting firm.
Briefly describe the work that you do.
I specialize in fisheries work, mostly focusing on oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the blue crab fishery, and some of the other finfish work going on there as well.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
So getting out of grad school and trying to plan my next step, I was looking for an opportunity where I would not have the same job day in and day out. I wanted to be challenged with different projects, and I really found that private consulting opened up the door so that one day I would be working on freshwater fish and the next day going out and working on oyster boats and looking at oyster sanctuaries. So everyday I’m challenged with a lot of different things going on. Nothing is routine.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
That one is something I’m still working on. I’m only four years into my career, and at first I was really the only major analyst at the office, and I was so excited to work on many different projects, and I was like work, work, work…And now I’m learning that, no, I need to get a better balance, explore my hobbies, and get other things going in my life as well. So I’m still working on that. I get excited about fieldwork and deadlines, so I’m trying to start scheduling things better so I have time for friends and family.
What is one thing you wish you had known when you first started pursuing your career?
So, the one thing that I wish I had known would be that you don’t always have to go for a Ph.D. I spent a lot of time at the end of my Master’s debating should I keep going to school, and it took a little while of exploring and learning about other people’s career paths to learn that hey, the things I want to do and doing different projects with the mix and diversity, that I really don’t need to go that far right now in my career. So I wish I had known that a little bit earlier so that I wouldn’t have to worry and stress so much.
Describe one challenge you have overcome in your work or personal life.
So I think maybe just locking down that work-life balance and excepting it and realizing that I can’t be 100% all of the time in all directions and just working on that balance. Coming to the realization that was already getting over one of the hills that I can’t be everywhere all the time.
What is one your greatest memories of your career?
So along with the fieldwork that I do I also do a lot of computer work and analysis. It sounds maybe a little bit nerdy, but I love creating models and writing some really complicated code that takes a while, and when it does that first run and I start to see patterns in data that I didn’t expect to see, that gets me really excited.
Have you ever faced gender-related challenges in your career (e.g., gender discrimination, sexism)? If so, how did you deal with these challenges?
So one of the things I commonly see out in the field when an issue comes up with the boat or something, it’s kind of hard to get my voice heard. Sometimes people are like oh no it has to go this way, but I have a lot of experience and I may it may not necessarily look like that to some of the guys, but I know how to operate a boat. I know how to fix a lot of things. So just trying to get my voice heard so they try my way of doing things has been one thing I’ve seen. I speak my mind and try to run through the process of why we need to try this, and that usually wins them over.
What advice can you offer anyone, especially girls, wishing to pursue a similar career?
Try everything I think is the best way to go about. I originally thought, hey, I wanna be in academia and go that track, and then I start trying different things, and I was like wait actually I want to have a lot more diversity in projects and things. So just keep trying because life does all these twists and turns so don’t panic or stress if it’s not working out the way you want it to. Usually things find a why of happening, so stick in there and keep trying things.