Advocate for Conservation
Devin DeMario '07
Her job is more “halls of Congress” than “great outdoors,” but the federal government is often where environmental conservation truly begins. So, naturally, it’s where you’ll find Devin DeMario ’07.
DeMario graduated from Cal U with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies that focused on fisheries and wildlife biology. Now she is a government affairs associate for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C.
Since 2016, DeMario has worked on behalf of association members to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policies at the federal level. The agency also helps its members to coordinate programs regarding climate change, wildlife action plans, energy development and more.
“The association advocates for the states and for science-based management,” she says. “It’s fun to inform national programs and interface with science on management and conservation issues.”
DeMario earned her master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University. She gained experience with organizations such as the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, which awarded her the John F. Laudadio Conservation Leadership Award in 2008. She also has won awards from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, American Fisheries Society and Penn State.
In 2012, she was hired by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) as its legislative liaison.
“I often think, ‘How did I get here?’” she says of her advocacy career.
“I got a lot of my legislative and policy experience working with sportsmen’s organizations. I was called to Harrisburg and Washington to discuss policies that affect hunting, trapping, fishing and clean water.
“At Cal U, I started to take an interest in fish health and toxicology, and I did my honors thesis on endocrine disruption in wild fish. That pushed me into the realm of fish health and toxicology.”
Before graduate school, she worked as a biologist aide at the PFBC, pulling trap nets, electrofishing and assessing population dynamics. Her work, based at the Linesville State Fish Hatchery, provided insight into fish health.
“I’ve been able to combine all of that to integrate science into national policy,” she says.
By Wendy Mackall, communications director at Cal U