Program Officer, Marine Conservation Initiative, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
Rachel joined the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation in 2004 after finishing up her MEM degree at the Nicholas School. Rachel was one of the founding designers of the Marine Conservation Initiative at the foundation (along with classmate, Meaghan Calcari - MEM’04). Since 2005, the Initiative has focused on fostering resilient and productive marine ecosystems in the U.S. and Canada.
Rachel’s work has focused on developing strategy, fostering partnerships, and managing a significant portfolio of grants for marine conservation. Her projects have helped advance ocean planning in the U.S., including support for the Massachusetts Ocean Plan and the current development of the first U.S. regional ocean plan for the Northeast; and have helped reform fisheries management, with a focus on groundfish on the West Coast and in New England. Rachel’s role enables her to assess needs and opportunities in ocean conservation in the U.S., and to bring together the right ideas, resources, and leaders in the field to create lasting change. In her day-to-day activities she manages grants in areas such as catch shares implementation, capacity building, policy advocacy, science and technical support, conservation finance, communication strategy, and impact evaluation.
More recently, Rachel has been accepted as a participant at THNK Vancouver’s Creative Leadership Program, exploring human-centered design for social and environmental impact, including issues like climate resilience and ocean plastic pollution. And in her spare time, she is an active volunteer with the San Francisco Surfrider chapter, a hiker and beginner surfer, and an aspiring artist and photographer (see her watercolors and prints at www.rachelstrader.com)
The Nicholas School was formative to inspiring her to make a difference and in launching her career in ocean conservation. In addition to another Duke alumnus who joined the Initiative team (Mary Turnipseed – PhD ‘06), she often works with other alumni and former professors in fisheries and ocean planning, either in direct grantmaking or through collaborations.
"The Nicholas School equipped me with a solid understanding of the many dimensions of environmental challenges and solutions—social, environmental, and economic. It also provided me with a network of Duke colleagues that I continue to draw upon and connect with today."