Sydney Fishman

Sydney Fishman

Sydney Fishman is a second-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 threats 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 also studies 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 and other coastal hazards.

Career Interests

Coastal resilience; climate change adaptation; natural hazards risk management; coastal management; sea level rise preparedness

Employment Sought:
Permanent Position


Master of Environmental Management, May 2018
Certificate of Geospatial Analysis
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, NC
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, Decision analysis
Honors: Alumni Council Fellowship 2017-2018
Masters Project: Assessing Transportation Vulnerability to Recurrent Tidal Flooding in the U.S. 
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. Summarized methodology and results for potential publication. Oct. 2016 - Aug. 2017
Policy Intern, Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, Duke University, Durham, NC
Drafted research and policy memos for environmental contamination and stormwater trash control projects. Led GIS data preparation, field collection, management, and presentation for contamination and stormwater projects. Formulated trash control recommendations based on analysis of other cities’ initiatives. Summer 2017.
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. 

Additional Information

Alumni Council Fellowship, Nicholas School Alumni Council, Duke University, Durham, NC
Competitive award given to second-year professional degree students; chosen to work directly with the Alumni Council to develop and run an alumni-student mentor program. March 2017 – Present.

Durham Events Coordinator, The Coastal Society Duke Chapter, Duke University, Durham, NC
Student chapter of a national organization committed to peer education, environmental restoration, and cross-sector collaboration with coastal professionals. March 2017 – Present.

Software/Websites: ArcGIS, ENVI, Microsoft Office Suite, Westlaw
Regulations/Policies: Familiar with federal and California coastal zone regulations and management, federal climate policy, federal natural hazards and disaster preparedness and response
Technology: Trimble GPS


coastal zone management
project management

Graduation Date

May 2018

Additional Resources



Preferred Location


Preferred Sector

Academic Institution
Federal Government
Research Institute / Think Tank
State / Local Government