We are excited to announce that the election for President-elect garnered over 100 member votes split between two great candidates! Thank you to both Tiffany and Jason for running; your willingness to serve and dedicate your time to the Section is very much appreciated!!
Please welcome Dr. Tiffany Hopper, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as your President-elect 2019-2021. Tiffany is a Natural Resources Specialist/Data Analyst in Texas; she will enter her role as President-elect at the 2019 Business Meeting.
I was born in rural Tennessee, where my wildlife biologist father instilled in me a love for hunting, fishing, and hiking as well as a passion for understanding how humans interact with nature. I was always drawn to applying ideas from diverse fields to solve real-world problems, leading me to an undergraduate double major in English and Biology at Murray State University. There, I also joined the Biology and Mathematics in Populations Studies program where I studied the impacts of human activities on disease vectors using state of the art modeling techniques. Still focusing on human interactions with the environment, I completed a Ph.D. in Biology with a focus in Marine Biology from Texas Tech University. At Texas Tech I developed new skills in data management and statistical programming that were crucial in my post-doctoral work exploring spatial and temporal patterns in shark distributions using datasets from multiple federal, state, university, and international partners throughout the Gulf of Mexico. I currently serve as a Natural Resources Specialist and Data Analyst for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries Division, where I help manage and analyze our 40+ year-long monitoring database to help shape the future of marine fisheries management.
Tiffany’s Priorities and Vision
At TPWD I regularly interact with a continually expanding legacy database containing millions of records from the 1970s-present. I am working with a team to migrate this database to a modern system and implement fully digital data collection using a tablet. These types of migrations are increasingly necessary as legacy systems stop being supported. One of my priorities is education about migrating legacy databases of all sizes and restructuring them to leverage the capabilities of newer systems. This also often provides opportunities to incorporate ruggedized devices for digital data collection with field-based error checking. Another priority for me would be continuing the current FITS initiatives on creating and maintaining standardized metadata. Without detailed metadata any dataset can be difficult to interpret and impossible to analyze, and metadata is critical when combining multiple datasets. Yet, many fisheries professionals don’t fully understand what metadata information is most important to record or what options exist for easy storage. FITS and its past leaders have done an excellent job of connecting fisheries professionals with the best current technological solutions, and I hope to bring my diverse skillset and drive to find novel, multi-disciplinary approaches to problems to help lead FITS into the future.