Melissa Whaling

Melissa Whaling

Career Interests

Sea Turtle Conservation, Community-Based Environmental Management, Coastal Resiliency, Endangered Species, Ocean Law and Policy

Employment Sought:
Permanent Position


Master of Environmental Management, May 2017 
Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment, Durham, NC.
Concentration: Coastal Environmental Management.
Certificate: Community-Based Environmental Management. 
Masters Project: How Tos for Turtle Tourism: A Regional Review of Sea Turtle Tourism Best Practices and Guidelines to Inform Stakeholders in Martinique.

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology, Summa cum laude, December 2014
University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC.
Concentration: Marine Conservation.
Honors: Chancellor’s Achievement Award, Dean’s List.

Professional Experience

Science and Policy Intern, The Southern Environmental Law Center, Chapel Hill, NC 
Conducted research to inform ongoing litigation for defending coastal resources in the State of North Carolina. Prepared research memos, reports, and white papers on a wide range of coastal topics, including beach nourishment, coastal resiliency, coastal development, and hazard mitigation. Significantly increased knowledge of environmental law and policy and greatly improved writing and overall communication skills. Summer 2016

Ecology Lab Assistant, Duke University, Durham, NC
Managed, organized, and prepared large datasets from field studies in Gabon for analysis by the Poulsen Ecology Lab. Collaborated with PhD students and Postdoctoral researchers. Enhanced organizational skills and proficiency with Microsoft Excel and ArcGIS. Fall 2015 - Spring 2016

Educator and Group Events Coordinator, The Children’s Museum of Wilmington, NC 
Launched programs on child yoga, STEM, and marine science. Recruited, coordinated, and led field trips, fundraisers, and outreach events. Designed, planned, and built “The Sea and Me,” a family-friendly exhibit intended to educate the public about coastal and marine habitats and conservation. Participated in board meetings and provided monthly progress reports. Applied skills in creativity, marketing, education, multi-tasking, and self-motivation. Fall 2013 - Summer 2015

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Intern, Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, Surf City, NC
Provided veterinary care of endangered marine turtles, released rehabilitated turtles, and educated visitors about sea turtle conservation. Gained greater proficiency in volunteer training, public communication, leadership, and teamwork. Fall 2014    

Ichthyology Field and Lab Assistant, UNC Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Assessed the effect of beach nourishment on fish migration through participation in a Master’s project. Accumulated insight about the anthropologic impacts on beach habitats. Summer 2014

Marine Biology Teaching Lab Assistant, UNC Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 
Assisted professors and lab students with fish husbandry and preserved sample curation for the Marine Biology Teaching Lab. Gained organization, communication, and analytical skills. Spring 2014

NC Coastal Ecology Field Student, UNC Wilmington, Outer Banks, NC
Assisted in a long-term study on benefits of dune vegetation for longevity of barrier islands. Identified hundreds of plant species, which required collaborative research capabilities. Spring 2014

Additional Information

Ocean Policy Working Group, Duke University - Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

Social Media and Marketing Chair, The Basketball Committee, Duke University - Spring 2016 - Spring 2017

Forest Elephant Working Group, Duke University - Fall 2015 - Spring 2016

The Coastal Society, UNC Wilmington and Duke University - Fall 2013 - Spring 2017

Study Abroad Ambassador, UNC Wilmington - Fall 2013 - Fall 2014

Additional Skills:
Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Qualtrics, ArcGIS, Logikcull, Survey Design, Social Media


coastal zone management
community-based management
environmental education
survey design

Graduation Date

May 2017

Additional Resources

Preferred Sector

Non-profit / NGO