Dean's Update: Nicolas Cassar wins award, artificial reefs may be havens for tropical fish and more

May 8, 2019
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5.8.19

Graduation is upon us! For the rest of the week we will be focused on celebrating all of our graduates—undergraduates, professional students and doctoral students. In preparation for the several ceremonies that will be taking place Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I have been impressed by the scope and depth of work taking place within the Nicholas School. I so look forward to the celebrations in the days ahead.

For those of you not graduating, I wish you professional growth, some adventure and uneventful travel, wherever you may be going—near or far. I look forward to hearing from you on your return in August.

Congratulations one and all!

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CASSAR RECEIVES THOMAS LANGFORD LECTURESHIP AWARD
Congratulations to Nicolas Cassar for being selected to receive Duke University’s Thomas Langford Lectureship Award for academic year 2019-20, by the Advisory Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure. As a recipient, Nicolas has been asked to give a lecture about his research before an interdisciplinary audience of faculty colleagues. The program was established in 2000 in tribute to the former Divinity School faculty member, dean and provost.

PIMM TALKS NEW U.N. REPORT IN MEDIA OUTLETS
Stuart Pimm was a guest on NPR’s “On Point” Tuesday, when he talked about a new U.N. report that says humans are transforming earth so much that 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. Stuart was also quoted about the report on CNN and Nature. “Is it bleak? Yes. Is it getting worse? Yes. But are we making progress? Yes, absolutely... We're protecting more of the planet, both on land and in the oceans. And we're much more aware of the problem."

NEW DOCUMENTARY FEATURES DAN RICHTER’S WORK
The initial screening of a new documentary on French philosopher Bruno Latour’s travels with Dan Richter to the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory was held last week at the Franklin Humanities Center. The 60-minute film, directed by FHI’s Eric Barstow, follows the duo as Latour observes how deep soil erosion gives a more nuanced view of the Anthropocene. Watch now>

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ARTIFICIAL REEFS OFF N.C. COAST MAY BE HAVENS FOR TROPICAL FISH
A new study finds that tropical and subtropical fish are taking up residence on shipwrecks and other sunken structures off the North Carolina coast. Led by Duke Marine Lab visiting scholar Avery Paxton, the research shows that the pattern may continue or even accelerate in coming years given predictions of warming oceans under climate change. Brian Silliman and J. Christopher Taylor, a research ecologist at NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, were among the co-authors. Read more>

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STUDENT TEAM PARTICIPATES IN PATAGONIA CASE COMPETITION
MEM students Samantha Burch, Martin Dietz, Meghana Gowni and Alicia Oberholzer were part of a Duke team that participated in the annual Patagonia Case Competition last month. The team, which also included Fuqua MBA student Zach Siegel, was selected as one of the top 10 finalists out of 142 team submissions. Team imPACKed pitched solutions for Patagonia to reduce plastic waste generated by its current packaging.

 

PHD STUDENT NAMED TO ENERGY DATA ANALYTICS FELLOWS PROGRAM
Jun Shepard, a PhD student in Earth and Ocean Sciences, has been named to the second cohort of Duke's Energy Data Analytics PhD Student Fellows program. Launched in 2018 by the Duke University Energy Initiative, the program is designed to produce scholars prepared to apply innovative data science methods to improve the world's energy systems. Each fellow conducts a related research project for nine months, working with faculty from multiple disciplines. Jun's research models energy systems in the context of trade to better understand international energy security. PhD students Qingran Li and Edgar Virguez were part of the first cohort.

STUDENT AWARDED GRANT FOR GENDER IN FISHERIES RESEARCH
PhD student Hillary Smith was awarded the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy grant for her research on gender and small-scale fisheries policy. Her project examines the first global policy tool specifically designed for small-scale fisheries, following how and whether this tool translates into more gender-equitable fisheries in practice at the national scale.

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ALUMNA NAMED EXEC DIRECTOR OF PUGET SOUND PARTNERSHIP
Congrats to alumna Laura Blackmore MEM'99 for being named the new executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. The Puget Sound Partnership is the state agency that leads the region's collective effort to restore and protect the sound. Laura is currently deputy director and tribal liaison at the Puget Sound Partnership. She has been with the agency since 2015.

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Congratulations to our 19 undergraduate students who have earned Graduation with Distinction honors this year! https://t.co/yVu52wyjKd

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Faculty and staff celebrate the end of another great academic year with a picnic in the Grainger Hall orchard #WeAreDukeEnvironment
 
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#WeAreDukeEnvironment

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Nicholas School of the Environment