Hatchery International

News & Views Top 10 Under 40
Top 10 Under 40: Michelle Poprawski

November 29, 2023  By Seyitan Moritiwon

(Photo: Michelle Poprawski)

Michelle Poprawski is one of the few female hatchery managers that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has had, and her supervisor Jim Daley thinks she’s great at her job.

“She tackles all aspects of the job with 100 per cent enthusiasm, is constantly striving to improve operations, and is held in very high regard by her staff, her supervisors, and her peers. She has the potential for a long and very productive career in New York State’s Fish Culture Section,” said Daley, who nominated her.

Daley said the 36-year-old has contributed to overhauling brown trout egg-take procedures at the hatchery which has led to a more efficient egg-take with better results.

But Poprawski didn’t get here by chance. While in university, she was awarded a scholarship with MOTE Marine Laboratory in Florida, where she fell in love with the RAS. “I became involved with rearing Snook and Florida pompano, the system used effluent to raise local seagrasses. The whole setup intrigued me.”


(Photo: Michelle Poprawski)

After her internship, she returned to New York briefly and started her career at MOTE, raising Siberian sturgeon for caviar. And since she always wanted to work for government conservation, these experiences facilitated her success in her current position.

Once while Poprawski was working an outreach event, teaching students about native species on the Hudson River, a student told her that she wanted to be just like her, doing exactly what she did for work.

“Somehow, I had intrigued this adolescent to the point where she wanted to do what I chose to do. It was the ultimate feel-good moment,” she said, encouraging young hatchery professionals to go out and find opportunities for themselves.

Print this page


Stories continue below