What is your previous work experience?

While I was an undergraduate student at the Evergreen State College, I had the opportunity to work as a student researcher studying the role of dissolved organic nitrogen in northeastern streams at the University of New Hampshire Water Quality Laboratory. After graduating, I spent a service year as a Watershed Stewards Program member at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board where I conducted field work, learned about the role of regulation in water quality protection and the complex landscape of California water politics. While working at the Water Board, I connected with fluvial geomorphologist Dr. Ann Riley later brought me on as the Education and Outreach Director for her non-profit, the California Urban Streams Partnership. There, I worked to implement urban stream restoration projects across the Bay Area and support a statewide network of urban stream stewards. 

Why did you choose the Nicholas School?

I chose the Nicholas School based on the strength of its water program and the unique opportunities it offers students to bridge the gap between academic scholarship, applied management, and environmental justice issues. Programs like the Wetlands Center, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and the certificate in Community Based Environmental Management all attracted me to the Nicholas School, along with the wide array of classes in the WRM specialization.  

What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?

Returning to school for the first time in several years, I am excited to dedicate myself to my studies while bringing my work and life experiences with me. I look forward to getting to know my peers, connecting with professors, and plugging into the larger Nicholas School and Duke communities.  I’m specifically looking forward to my courses on water governance, such as the Transboundary Water Conflict class I’ll be taking in the fall. I’m also looking forward to getting involved in student organizations, such as the Duke Water Network and the Duke Student Association of Wetland Scientists.

Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?

I am planning on using my time as a MEM student to refine and focus my analytical skills and contextualize those skills within applied management scenarios. I will be pursuing classes that allow me to further my understanding of hydrology, water quality, and wetlands through both scientific as well as financial, legal, and regulatory frameworks. Additionally, I will be exploring how water resources management can best be informed by environmental justice and support community-level resource management. I hope to graduate from the Nicholas School with a diverse toolkit that will allow me to be an effective project manager and advocate for watershed restoration across a variety of landscapes and waterways. 

What plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?

After graduating, I hope to utilize my understanding of policy and my specializations in water quality, stream restoration, and environmental justice to make a difference in the restoration and management of streams and rivers. I am looking forward to applying the skills and knowledge I will gain at the Nicholas School to implement watershed restoration projects to weather drought, empower climate-resilient communities, and restore functional ecosystems. Both in graduate school and as a professional after graduation, I hope to stay grounded in my intentions within this work to support indigenous water sovereignty and water justice more broadly.