2022 Tillman Scholar
Every career decision James has made has been directed toward a single purpose: research and inquiry as both a career and a lifestyle. His passion for the ocean, cultivated in youth during family vacations to the coast, directed this purpose to the field of oceanography, wherein he seeks to contribute to the preservation of marine ecosystems, while at the same time providing valuable social services: research and education.
In pursuit of this goal, alongside the desire to follow in his family’s tradition of service to country, he joined the U.S. Navy. His naval service comprised the administration and security of classified and unclassified information networks throughout the Pacific. His time in the U.S. Navy molded him personally and professionally, developing unique skills that would contribute to his academic pursuits. More importantly though, his working alongside individuals of various backgrounds, ideologies, and cultures emphasized the importance of collaborating with a diverse global community when seeking to effect change. Despite a rewarding military career, his eagerness to conduct marine research and become an educator persisted, leading to his departure from military service and completion of his B.S. in Marine Biology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
James is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his research efforts focus on ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation. He strives to be an effective ambassador for both the scientific and veteran communities, and an educator who encourages the questioning of all things.