Sydney Fishman

Sydney Fishman

Sydney Fishman is a first-year Coastal Environmental Management student in the Master of Environmental Management program. Originally from Chicago, she spent four years on the west coast attending the University of Southern California, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and minored in Geology as well as International Policy and Management. While deepening her knowledge of the natural and social sciences, Sydney became increasingly aware of the challenges posed by climate change and the lack of solutions at all levels of government. Fascinated with the coasts and oceans since childhood, she began narrowing her focus on the issues facing coastlines, which led her to the program here at Duke. Her main interests are sea level rise and its effects on human and natural coastal systems. She recently has been learning about the field of natural hazards risk management and its potential application to climate change adaptation, as well as the use of GIS in coastal planning and management. After graduation, she hopes to work on long-term planning for sea level rise in a federal or state government office. 

Career Interests

Coastal Resilience, Climate Change Adaptation, Natural Hazards Risk Management, Sea Level Rise


Employment Sought:


Master of Environmental Management, May 2018
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, NC
Certificate of Geospatial Analysis
Certificate of Natural Hazards Resilience, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC Concentration: Coastal Environmental Management
Coursework: Geospatial analysis for the coastal environment, American coastal law and environmental politics, Planning for natural hazards and climate change, Environmental economics
Bachelor of Science, Summa Cum Laude, May 2016
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Major: Environmental Studies
Minors: Geohazards, International Policy and Management GPA 3.991 of 4.0
Coursework: Climate science, Geology, Public policy and management, International relations Honors: Order of the Laurel and the Palm (highest distinction awarded to graduating seniors), Renaissance Scholar Prize for graduate studies, Phi Beta Kappa (2015), Dean’s List every semester

Professional Experience

Research Assistant, Ecosystem Services Program, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Duke University, Durham, NC
Conducted legal research using Westlaw web interface. Identified and summarized over 70 international cases and 30 secondary sources relevant to ecosystem services and the legal system. Oct. 2016 - Present
Chief of Student Staff/Lead Student Worker, 2015-2016, Student Worker, 2014-2015, USC Office for Wellness and Health Promotion, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Prepared training and reference material for new and veteran student workers. Conducted 10 exit interviews and oversaw hiring of 9 new employees on behalf of the office’s director. Communicated information on health and on-campus resources to students. Jan. 2014 - May 2016.
Environmental Policy Intern, Office of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, Los Angeles City Council District 3, Los Angeles, CA
Authored recommendations for sustainable stormwater runoff management in City parks. Communicated research on oil pipeline hazards in LA to office’s Chief of Staff. Drafted mailings to constituents concerning graffiti and neighborhood beautification issues. Summer 2015.
Student Conservation Association and Americorps Intern, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, National Park Service, Thousand Oaks, CA
Executed self-designed plan for controlling invasive weeds in Solstice Canyon park. Collected geospatial data on invasive species control in the field using Trimble GPS units. Utilized ArcGIS to analyze and organize geospatial data collected in the field. Managed nursery for young plants for later use in ecological restoration projects. Summer 2014.

Additional Information

Technical Skills
Software/Websites: ArcGIS, Microsoft Office Suite, Westlaw 
Technology: Trimble GPS

Student Groups
Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators (DISI) — Graduate student teams providing pro bono consulting services for local nonprofit organizations

USC Order of the Laurel and the Palm (highest distinction awarded to graduating seniors)
USC Renaissance Scholar Prize for graduate studies
Phi Beta Kappa (2015)


climate change
coastal zone management

Graduation Date

May 2018

Additional Resources

Preferred Location


Preferred Sector

Academic Institution
Federal Government
Non-profit / NGO
Research Institute / Think Tank
State / Local Government