Devin A. DeMario (Outstanding Recent Alumna)

M.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Science, 2013

Devin A. DeMario earned an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science in 2013 with Dr. Tyler Wagner, adjunct professor and assistant unit leader (fisheries) of the PA Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Her research focused on “PCB Exposure and Channel Catfish: An Analysis of Immune Response and PCB Dynamics in the Presence of Food Deprivation.” Devin completed a B.S. in Environmental Science with a Wildlife and Fisheries concentration at California University of Pennsylvania in 2007; there she was also a member of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society (2005-2007), served as a student tutor in Zoology, and completed an undergraduate honors thesis on endocrine disruption in Carp on the Monongahela River.
     Devin’s work experiences as an undergraduate student included interning with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, serving as a veterinary assistant, and working as a seasonal fisheries biologist aide with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Little Colorado River, Grand Canyon, AZ. 
     After finishing her B.S. degree, Devin completed a brief internship with the PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) at the Three Rivers Research Center in 2008, which led to a seasonal fisheries biologist aide position with the PFBC. That was followed by six-months of employment with the Co-op Unit as a USGS research technician and another six-month USGS research technician position at the Leetown (WV) Science Center where she was involved in conducting fish health assessment surveys on the Susquehanna, Shenandoah, Potomac, and Maumee rivers. Her USGS research technician work concluded when she began her graduate studies at Penn State in September 2009. 
     As a graduate student, Devin also served as president of the Centre County Federation of Sportsmen for two years (2009-2011) where she conducted monthly meetings to address regional sportsmen’s issues, tracked current legislation and presented it to the membership, wrote policy briefs and letters to elected officials, and presented testimony in public forums. She also served as the North Central Division chair for the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (PFSC), Inc., during this same time period, which required her to run annual meetings to update the division membership on current PFSC activities. Devin also was the PFSC’s Conservation Committee chair, which carried the responsibility of keeping the state PFSC current and aware of pertinent conservation issues that affect hunting, trapping, and angling heritage.   
     In January 2012, even before completing her M.S., Devin was hired by the PFBC as the agency’s legislative liaison. In this capacity Devin regularly advised the director of the Policy and Planning Office and PFBC executive director of timely legislative issues that affect agency programs, and she represented the agency at legislative committee meetings and hearings. She was responsible for analyzing the impacts of proposed legislation on PFBC programs and goals, and recommending advocacy strategies or alternatives for the consideration of top management in cooperation and consultation with the Governor's Office. She regularly interacted with members of the legislature on issues pertinent to agency operations, and worked with local partners and legislative offices to coordinate funding initiatives for agency infrastructure needs, including, but not limited to, high-hazard, unsafe dams. 
     In January 2016 Devin joined the staff of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, DC, as a government affairs associate. The association represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies on Capitol Hill to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. Devin is engaged daily to promote favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding for the association’s member agencies. She has the lead for fisheries and water issues for the association, and provides support and guidance for several association committees and associated subcommittees and working groups, including Fisheries and Water Resources Policy Committee, Subcommittee on Water, Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Working Group, Ocean Resources Policy Committee, and Legislative and Federal Budget Committee.   
     Devin’s efforts during the last decade have been recognized by several organizations and programs. In 2007 Devin was awarded by California University of Pennsylvania first place in Joint Faculty Undergraduate Research for her work on “The feminization of Carp in the Monongahela.” In 2008 Devin received an Academic Excellence in Environmental Science award from California University of Pennsylvania, which is awarded annually to one undergraduate student. 
     The PFSC presented Devin with the 2008 John F. Laudadio Conservation Leadership Award. Also in 2008, Devin received the Wildlife Conservation Award from the Pennsylvania Game Commission for her volunteer research, outreach, and education activities. 
     In 2009 the Northeast Division of the American Fisheries Society awarded Devin the Best Student Paper Award for “Evaluation of Panfish Enhancement Regulations in Pennsylvania Lakes,” as well as the 2009 John Mooring Travel Award. In 2010 Devin received the John E. Skinner Memorial Scholarship from the American Fisheries Society. In 2011 Penn State’s School of Forest Resources honored Devin with the Roger M. Latham Memorial Graduate Award.
     In 2013 the PFBC nominated Devin to attend the Pennsylvania Emerging Leaders Program. This was an 11-month training that focused on developing leadership characteristics and supervisory management skills. Devin was selected by her cohort to speak at graduation.
     Devin has been active professionally as a member of the American Fisheries Society since 2005 and served as the Pennsylvania State Chapter Student Representative from 2009-2011 and on the 2010 Annual Meeting planning committee. Devin has served on the Resource Policy Committee of the American Fisheries Society since 2014. From 2003-2007 Devin was a member of the California University of Pennsylvania Chapter of The Wildlife Society and served as the organization’s treasurer. Devin recently co-authored a journal article for an upcoming edition of Fisheries magazine titled, “Historical Perspectives and a New U.S. Forest Service Strategy for Fish and Aquatic Stewardship.” 
     Devin is a certified Hunter-Trapper Education Instructor and Cable Restraint Instructor. She is also a certified instructor for "Wild About Songbirds,” "Wild About Bears," and “Wild About Wetlands,” and has conducted classes throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition to her education and instruction activities, Devin has also been an Advisory Committee member on the Board of Environmental Education for the Western Pennsylvania Conservation District. Devin has been an instructor and counselor for the Westmoreland County Junior Conservation School (which she herself attended as a high school student), and past president and youth activities coordinator for the Westmoreland County Sportsmen's League where she has mentored many youth. Devin was involved in the Pennsylvania Youth Education Summit from 2011-2015 and served as the lead coordinator for the program in 2014 and 2015. This youth leadership program brought together more than 30 high school honor students from across the state for four days each year to learn about government, policy, and leadership and compete for a spot in the Youth Education Summit national scholarship competition.
     Devin currently lives in Manassas, VA, with her husband, Dave, who is also a fisheries biologist and avid conservationist, and their 130-pound Newfoundland “puppy,” Esox. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, hiking, fishing, archery hunting, reading, testing her hand at painting, and becoming more acquainted with the history of Virginia.