Carolina People

Carolina People: Stacy Davis

Part of Stacy Davis' job is build scientific instruments tough enough to survive the effects of the hurricanes they are designed to study. "I like to say that if you can dream it, we can build it."

A man works on the mechanics of a boat
Stacy Davis

Stacy Davis


22 years working at Carolina


What’s a typical day like in your job?

We make sure the facilities run, all the boats run and that everyone is safe. That means anything from making sure the heat comes on to preparing for a hurricane. Once, during a category 2 hurricane, I had to come into work because the minus-80 freezers lost power. I have a 100-ton captain license, so I sometimes fill in for the captain when we carry out groups of students for shark trips on our research vessel. 

How does your WORK support Carolina’s mission?

I support the science and research at IMS by maintaining our facility, boats and vehicles, keeping salt water systems operational and building customized research equipment. For example, for the researchers studying hurricanes, we build scientific equipment they can use outside. I love to say that if you can dream it, we can build it. 

What do you like most about your work?

I like the folks I work with and all the new faces I get to see every year. I love when students come here with different things they would like to tackle. It’s a pleasure to take students out on the research vessels, especially when they might not have seen a fish or shark caught before. I want to do everything I can to give students an experience they will never forget. 

How did you discover your passion for marine sciences?

I grew up in Harkers Island, and my family comes from a long line of commercial fishermen. My father passed down his experience of working on the water and his local knowledge of the water and everything in it. I spent a bunch of time as a kid in the water and out in the boat and developed the love for boats. That’s where my love for marine sciences came from. I went to school for outboards, and I worked on outboards and cars for the state. Before then, I worked with a carpenter and the power company. 

What is something surprising about you or your work? 

From time to time we have some very important people go out on our research vessel, including the chancellor, local news stations, CNN, National Geographic and PBS NewsHour. It’s so cool to have them come out on the research vessel with us. We show off the world-class research being conducted here at Carolina.  

Carolina People is a regular feature in each issue of the Gazette that asks one of your fascinating colleagues five questions about the work they do for the University. Do you know someone with an interesting or unique job at Carolina? Please email your suggestions to and put Carolina People in the subject line.