What is your previous work experience?
Between my undergraduate degree and coming to the Nicholas School, I worked a variety of coastal and marine science and education field positions. I spent most of my postgrad time working as an assistant scientist at Sea Semester. The position was based onboard SEA's 135ft brigantine tall ship and my duties included managing the oceanographic lab onboard, teaching field sampling and laboratory techniques to undergraduates, teaching leadership, working as a tall ship deckhand all while sailing around the world to remote, pristine islands and across oceans. I also worked on marine debris research in remote wilderness areas of Alaska and as an environmental educator on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
Duke (both the Nic School and the Law School) is the only place that said "yes" when I asked if I could spend time at their marine lab while pursuing a combined masters and law degree. What this indicated for me is that Duke offered me the ability to pursue a robust interdisciplinary education concentrated on furthering the conservation of the part of the world I love the most, the open ocean. There are several professors working on open ocean conservation from a variety of disciplines and each one was really supportive and encouraging when I reached out as an accepted student. This, in addition to the breadth of courses available to MEM students and the (logistical) ease of pursuing a dual degree all led me to Duke.
Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
I am going to focus on the conservation of pelagic ecosystems and the political and legal structures surrounding them, hopefully focusing on areas beyond national jurisdiction and the ongoing United Nations negotiations on the management of those resources.
What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
Among other things, I am looking forward to being in a classroom again. Many of my jobs over the past few years have led me to many situations where I have had to "figure it out" or expected me to learn background material on my own. While I have learned much this way, I am excited to have experts to guide my learning and fellow students to learn with. Additionally I am looking forward to the research involved in pursuing a master's project and meeting a whole new group of interesting, motivated people.
What future plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
In my career after the Nicholas School, I hope to advocate for the creation of large scale marine protected areas, the improved protection of natural resources in areas beyond natural jurisdiction and to promote awareness of how humans impact those areas, even though they are thousands of miles away from where people live. I can see this advocacy happening through work as a public interest lawyer, within the federal government, as an educator or a researcher.
To the donors of my scholarship, I cannot thank you enough. Being able to pursue a professional degree in environmental management without financial pressure opens up a great amount of flexibility in my future career plans. It will also allow me to focus on learning new skills and connecting with my peers. I am so excited to be here at Duke and it is in no small part thanks to you!
ocean law and policy, large scale marine protected areas, pelagic ecosystems, high seas resource management