Weekly Update: Marine Databases, China, Well Wishes and more...

December 14, 2016

As fall semester comes to a close, it’s time to start decking the halls and polishing the menorahs as we head into the holidays. But first, let me again say what a privilege it is to serve as your dean—even as an accidental one, as a fellow dean joked at a Duke event last Friday evening. (A jolly bunch, we deans.) The work you do, and your dedication to our school and its mission, truly inspires me. I’m currently in Nepal for a workshop, and I’m happy to have a decent enough internet connection to send you this message. (Fingers crossed the power doesn’t go out again before I press “Send.”) I will be meeting with some prospective students later this week, before I return home. You provide me with lots of great things to tell them about the school, including the breaking news stories reported below.

Happy holidays to everyone!  Here’s to a great New Year!

See you in 2017,



  1. Pat Halpin and his team at our Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab (MGEL) have played a key role in helping the National Ocean Council launch the nation’s first oceans plans to guide how shared marine resources are managed in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic waters. Pat and his MGEL crew were co-leaders of the joint Duke-NOAA Marinelife Data & Analysis Team that created or integrated the thousands of maps and databases that form the foundation of the new plans. Numerous Nic School alumni, working at state and federal agencies, NGOs and facilitator groups, also played major roles in the project. It’s a massive undertaking, and a great example of Nic School leadership. You can learn more here.


  1. Doug Nowacek has been honored by the Georgia-based conservation NGO One Hundred Miles for his work to raise awareness of the role Georgia’s coastal waters play as a habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales and other marine species, and to help reduce the potential risks posed to them by underwater seismic testing. Doug is one of 100 scientists, conservationists and educators who will be recognized by the NGO at an awards ceremony in January on Jekyll Island.   


  1. Allison Besch and Jesko von Windheim were at Duke Kunshan University in China last week delivering a Venture Mentoring Program workshop to budding environmental entrepreneurs. (A huge thanks to Wendy Graber for all the prep work she did to make the event such a success.)  While in China, Allison and Jesko also hosted the first-ever Nic School alumni and recruitment social in Shanghai, and conducted executive education development trips to the cities of Wuhan and Hangzhou.


  1. Katie Wood, senior program coordinator of undergraduate and Marine Lab programs, has earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Stony Brook University. As anyone who’s ever worked with her knows, Katie is truly one of our staff MVPs at DUML – she helps make everything work better. Her new degree makes her all the more indispensable. Kudos, Katie!


  1. Last but certainly not least, please join me in sending wishes for a full and speedy recovery to another of our school’s MVPs, Chef Sylvester Sly” Murray, who was hospitalized last week with a brain aneurysm. Sly’s been cooking up superb home-cooked food at the Marine Lab and serving as a great ambassador for the DUML community for nearly 40 years now. Beaufort wouldn’t be the same without him. Get well soon, Sly. We’re all thinking about you!


Please keep me up to date on what you are doing so I can share your news when we resume Weekly Updates in mid-January. Submit your items here.