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Employee in the Spotlight:
Roxanna Hinzman

Roxanna Hinzman Profile Photo with her 2 dogs

Roxanna Hinzman works in the Southeast Region's Ecological Services Program as the Chief of Environmental Quality.


As a kid growing up in the 60s, I wanted to be Jacque Cousteau and Marlin Perkins all rolled into one.  I got involved with Explorer Scouts.  This was a co-ed group, so it really held my interest. Our troop had 2 sailboats, so we spent almost every weekend sailing, hiking, or being outside. I also took an ecology course in high school and we went to the Okefenokee Swamp, where I discovered you could actually get a job doing the things you loved in the places you loved the most. 

My degrees are in marine biology and coastal zone management.  My first “real science” job was in a toxicology lab at a nuclear power plant, which eventually led into biological monitoring and ecological risk assessment.  My journey to the Service was a long, convoluted one.  I worked in a variety of work environments such as the private sector, extension service, national labs, county government, and as a contractor with EPA.  It was my work as an EPA contractor that got my foot in the door to the Contaminants Program in FWS.  I spent four years in D.C., then became the Deputy Project Leader in Yreka, California—a combined fisheries/ES office.  I moved to my current position in Atlanta three and a half years ago.

I’ve had the good fortune to work on everything from water quality to frogs to anthrax.  I loved being in the field (especially when my body didn’t complain about the long days, weather, or heavy loads).  Now that I’ve “moved on” to supervision, management, and (I hope) leadership; the crazy fun thing is the people part. 

No matter how hard the technical stuff is, the people story is always complex, rich, and interesting.  Figuring out what makes folks tick, how to support and motivate people with varying styles, testing the limits of my versatility, learning how to let go of doing it my way (a never ending work in progress), and looking at my behavior with a critical eye have been more challenging than any scientific study or field work.

My favorite non-work things are hanging out with family and friends.  Soon, I hope to renew my favorite volunteer work, which is raising puppies to become service dogs to people with disabilities other than blindness.  I’ve raised four pups so far and hope to do it again soon.  You’d be amazed at the people you meet and conversations you have when you are walking around with a cute puppy in a cape.

Learn more about the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Environmental Quality Program

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