Scientist Profile: Dr. Beth McGee

For Dr. Beth McGee, a Senior Water Quality Scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, science is all about passion and the outdoors. Dr. McGee has always loved running through streams, catching fish and tadpoles, and hiking in the woods, so her job as a scientist is an extension of that. She is captivated by figuring out how things in nature “work.” She says, “Whether it is how animals adapt to their environment or how temperature affects ecosystem processes. I find it all fascinating.”

Dr. McGee uses this curiosity and her science background everyday to guide the decision making of legislators, elected officials, and others. As the Senior Water Quality Scientist, Dr. McGee uses expertise to help drive environmental change by assessing environmental laws, policies, and regulations to see how they could help or hurt the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways. One of the highlights of her job is taking policy-makers out on the bay to help them experience the environment she is trying to protect. She knows that these experiences along with the laws and regulations she helps put in to affect will bring about positive change within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. That is really great feeling and a really great job.

To gain the expertise necessary to assess the environmental impact of laws and regulations, she has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from University of Virginia, a Master’s degree in Ecology from University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from University of Maryland. However, her many years of schooling have never felt like work because she has stuck to her life motto, “Find your passion, make it your job and you’ll never work another day in life!”

Dr. McGee is doing her best to create a better environment for those who feel like they don’t have a voice, but she realizes that the best outcomes happen when stakeholders find their own voices. The best laws and regulations come about when the citizens that care about a waterway work together with scientists and regulatory agencies. By finding and pursuing their passion everyone has the ability to create positive change in their community, state, country, or even for our entire Water Planet. If you’re interested in helping create positive change in your community, Dr. McGee advises, “Follow your passion. Look for opportunities to get experiences whenever and where you can.”