Samantha A. Godwin
Samantha A. Godwin
What is your previous work experience?
In summer 2014, I participated in an internship with the US Forest Service at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, where I assisted with wildlife and silviculture field research projects. Last summer (2015), I completed a natural resource management internship with the North Carolina Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve, in which I assisted with the management of three coastal nature reserves in North Carolina. I was involved in various monitoring and stewardship activities and participated in water quality monitoring, invasive species control, and several other research endeavors.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of attending Duke University. When I first became aware of the MEM-CEM program two years ago, I toured the Duke Marine Lab and was very impressed. I believe that this graduate program’s interdisciplinary approach will allow me to gain expertise about coastal processes and the technical background in coastal policy necessary for a career in coastal management. Lastly, I was truly honored to have been offered the Orrin Pilkey Fellowship, which will provide me with a substantial amount of financial assistance.
Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
I would like to concentrate in the area of coastal resource management, specifically targeting issues concerning sea level rise, water pollution, eutrophication, marine debris, and other anthropogenic impacts on coastal and estuarine ecosystems. I am also considering the possibility of pursuing the Community-based Environmental Management Certificate Program.
What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
I’m really looking forward to becoming a part of the Duke community, becoming involved in student groups and gaining more hands-on exposure in this field. I’m also very excited for the opportunity to study at both the Nicholas School in Durham and at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort.
What are you doing this summer before you arrive at the Nicholas School?
I am working part-time for the Museum of Life and Science as a guest relations associate, and am enjoying my time with my 3- year-old son before we both return to school in August. We love to explore the area, and often visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke Forest, Eno River, Umstead State Park, Falls Lake, and other beautiful places in the triangle.
What are your plans for future work of employment?
Ultimately, I anticipate a career in natural resource management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems. After graduate school, I hope to find a position in this field.
Coastal water quality; wetland restoration; estuarine shoreline erosion and stabilization; coastal/marine debris management
Nicholas School of the Environment
Concentration: Coastal Environmental Management (CEM)
Relevant coursework: Coastal Pollution, Marine Ecology, Marine Policy, Ocean/Coastal Law & Policy, Geospatial Analysis for
Coastal/Marine Management, Aquatic & Wetland Field Skills, Hydrologic Data Analysis, Water Quality Health, Beach/Island Geological Processes, Resource & Environmental Economics
Honors: Nicholas Scholar Orrin Pilkey Fellow: selected as only CEM student for prestigious merit award │Sussman Fellow
Appointments: Beaufort Representative, Duke Chapter of the Student Association of Wetland Scientists
Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, NC
Major: Biology with concentration in Ecology & Field Biology
Senior thesis: Use of algae in bioremediation of aquatic heavy metal pollution
Relevant coursework: Population & Community Ecology, Biological Research Methods, Biology of Vascular Plants, Vertebrate Taxonomy & Natural History, GIS, Organic Chemistry
Honors: Outstanding Biology Graduate Award, Alpha Chi National Honor Society, and Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society
Assessment of the long-term impacts of shoreline stabilization on salt marsh structure in Carteret County, NC. GIS analysis using multi-decadal aerial imagery to quantify the change in salt marsh structure at landward bulkheads and natural marsh sites at various wave energy regimes. Also involved in ongoing projects concerning marine debris, living shorelines and water quality monitoring on the Rachel Carson National Estuarine Research Reserve. May 2017- present
Field Research/Data Analysis: Initiated project to monitor Currituck Sound water quality weekly, collected and filtered monthly water samples for phytoplankton and nutrient analysis, and analyzed historic water quality data. Mapped field data and inventoried species on Reserve sites, including monitoring of invasive swine with wildlife cameras. Surveyed last remaining longleaf pine stand in the area and installed transects for marsh erosion monitoring project.
Stewardship: Constructed and maintained Currituck Banks rain garden and installed interpretive signs and trail markers for Kitty Hawk Woods paddle trail. Involved in debris cleanup for improved public usage of Reserves.
Outreach/education: Designed educational material to communicate Reserve’s mission and current initiatives for visitors and tour guides, including Reserve site descriptions and interpretive signs for the Currituck Banks rain garden and flowering plant species. Regularly interacted with visitors at each of the three Reserve sites to answer inquiries and discuss the Reserve system’s mission and initiatives. Summer 2015
Assisted with a master’s project assessing impacts of various forest treatment techniques on reptiles and amphibians, acquiring a variety of field skills and data collection methods related to capturing, handling/identifying herpetofauna, and habitat assessment/identification. Assisted with identification of canopy and sub-canopy tree species and vegetation growth/regeneration measurements for a research project assessing efficacy of different silvicultural methods. Summer 2014
Research: Demonstrated ability to work independently and apply established research methods to solve ongoing management issues. Aquatic and terrestrial habitats, use of Trimble unit, water sample collection/filtration, use of YSI Sonde, ICP chemical analysis, chemical laboratory research, Southeastern plant and vertebrate species identification
Communication/outreach: Scientific writing, translation of technical writing for general public, public engagement
Software: Microsoft Office Suite, ArcGIS, ArcPad, some R exposure
Award ● Orrin Pilkey Fellowship
Hometown ● Duck, North Carolina
Undergraduate Institute ● Mars Hill University