Tinisha Hancock recently joined GWC’s team as our new operations associate, managing the financial transactions and facilitating daily GWC operations. Tinisha learned about finance and accounting while on a winding road toward earning a Ph.D. in biology, where she focused on microbial ecology. Her goal at GWC is to bring a love of science and a unique perspective to the operations role.
We chatted with Tinisha about her background in biology, her love for wildlife, and her new role with GWC.
Q. How did you develop your passion for wildlife conservation?
A. I’ve always loved nature, science and the outdoors. In middle school, I learned about how humans were affecting wildlife; I was specifically concerned about turtles and other sea life being trapped in plastic 6-pack rings. I also learned that I could do something to make a difference, be it something as simple as cutting apart those plastic rings. Since then, I’ve devoted my life to studying science and nature and I want to preserve and protect our natural resources.
Q. How did you wind your way from biology to finance and accounting?
A. While I was attending the University of Utah, studying biology, I got a job at a research lab. My role was part laboratory technician and part accountant. I learned a lot about bookkeeping, QuickBooks and grant accounting during that time. Later on while in graduate school, again studying biology, I used my bookkeeping skills to make a little extra money by keeping the books for a small construction company. Now I’m combining my accounting and science skills as an operations associate at GWC.
Q. How does your background in biology give you a unique perspective on the work you do now?
A. I like to think of myself as a bit of a translator, I speak scientist and accountant. I find it particularly useful when navigating the operational aspects of the grants process.
Q. What do you love most about the work you do?
A. I love feeling like I am doing something good in the world and working toward conserving species and lands that might not survive otherwise.
Q. Why are you committed to GWC’s mission?
A. For me GWC’s mission, to conserve the diversity of life, is a way of life. I can’t imagine a world with less diversity and I want to do my part to preserve the species already here fighting to survive in a changing ecosystem. The way I see it, humans are responsible for the global climate change that threatens to reduce biodiversity as we now know it, so humans should be responsible for cleaning up the mess and repairing the damage as best as we can.
Q. What is your favorite species?
A. A strain of cyanobacteria called Anabaena. It’s a microscopic alga that can convert Nitrogen from the air into proteins. AMAZING!! Here’s one of my photos of the beauty:
And who said microbes can’t be cuddly? They’ve even made these guys into a plush toy: https://www.giantmicrobes.com/us/products/algae.html.