Meet the Scholars

Read about current Graduate Scholars on the Oregon Sea Grant website and Learn about recent scholars on the Oregon SEa Grant Scholars page.

Meet the 2024 Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience Interns

Brianna DeLeon: I grew up going to the Oregon coast and have always been interested in protecting our marine ecosystems. This has fostered my career interests in environmental policy with an emphasis on marine ecosystems and resource management. Both my personal relation to the coast and my study abroad program have expanded my interest in exploring the holistic relationship between coastal peoples and the environment and how this dynamic manifests certain effects. I have a deep interest in sustainable management practices for endangered wildlife, which has recently included plastic reduction schemes. Through this opportunity, I look forward to gaining hands-on experience with policy drafting, implementation, and environmental protection.

I am a rising junior at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. My current academic path is double majoring in Environmental Studies and International Affairs. This past spring I participated in a study abroad program in New Zealand. During my study, I expanded my knowledge of conservation efforts and pursued an independent interest in marine ecosystem protection. This interest led me down the path of investigating and evaluating the plastic reduction policy for Wellington, New Zealand. In addition to my semester abroad, I am a member of the LC Law Club, where we discuss a variety of topics relating to environmental policy.

I will be working with The Oregon Coast Aquarium to craft a holistic plastic reduction policy for all departments to utilize in their daily tasks. I will primarily support staff on the Green Team to help them meet their Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) goals by analyzing alternative options to single-use plastics, which include their environmental impacts and investigating costs. In addition to engaging in educating community members on sustainable practices and fostering a pathway for individuals to participate in plastic reduction in their lives.

Jillian Patricia Thompson: I am personally interested in the intersection of sustainability and marketing. There is a critical need to further educate the public about sustainability. By leveraging marketing to promote sustainable practices, we can make significant strides in combating climate change. I am also highly interested in the crossover between sustainability in sports, I have met with various people who do sustainability for sports, such as the Seattle Seahawks, and the Golden State Warriors.

I am currently a Junior at Oregon State University studying Marketing and Sustainability with a minor in Supply Chain Management. I am currently a part of 4 clubs on campus, Running Club, Marketing Club, Sustainability in Business (Events Coordinator: May 2023-December 2023), and Sports Product Development Club (Chief Communications Officer: January 2023-Present). I am currently part of an internship through Oregon State Athletics in their Marketing and Fan Engagement, as well as being the Co-Director of Beaver Dam (Official Student Section of the Oregon State Beavers, social media page) a branch of the internship.

I have been placed as the Sustainability Intern for Fiskar/Gerber Blades in Portland, OR. I hope to help this company design and implement a landfill-free status by 2035, achieve closed-loop recycling, and diversion of most if not all waste in the workplace and the assembly line. I hope to implement my marketing skills to make a timeless pamphlet to better educate their employees.

Alexandra Gabrielle Tissot: My dissertation research is aimed at pesticides as multiple stressors to aquatic invertebrates, which has allowed me to study a number of contaminants. While my main expertise is pesticides (herbicides and insecticides, specifically), I also study microplastics and keep up to date on other emerging contaminants, such as PFAS. I am passionate about research that actively includes intersectional environmentalism and environmental justice and want to work towards reducing contaminants that affect marginalized groups. After my PhD, I hope to open a consulting agency in order to continue conducting research while advising organizations that are interested in reducing their contaminant usage.

I completed my undergraduate degree at Western Washington University in 2015. I majored in Environmental Science with a Marine Ecology emphasis and a minor in Environmental Education. I am currently in the fifth year of my PhD at Portland State University in the Environmental Science and Management department.

For the 2024 OASE fellowship, I will be working as the sustainability intern for LAIKA to monitor their energy consumption and overall waste. I will be helping to install and monitor energy data loggers throughout the facility as well as conducting a waste audit to quantify which materials and how much of them are being used. My goal for the fellowship is to help quantify waste production as well as research and propose potential sustainable choices to reduce waste and energy use.

Wendy Nathaly Sangucho Loachamin: My academic goals for the next academic year are getting involved in community and student initiatives, and improving my leadership skills. My professional goal is to develop ways to foster environmental justice, community resilience, and encourage different audiences to use research-based information. I am interested in pollution prevention, sustainability, life cycle assessment, and energy efficiency, because I think that developing strategies and technologies for a more efficient production can have positive impacts such as reducing resources consumption leading to a reduction in soil, air and water pollution; minimizing waste production by recycling and reusing materials in other processes; and producing goods with lower carbon footprint. Small actions are important, business responsibility is important, and creating awareness of the problems around waste production is key to changing the way we produce and consume.

I am a PhD student in the Earth, Environment and Society program at PSU, I got my Masters in Environmental Science from PSU, and I graduated as an Environmental Engineer in Ecuador. As an undergrad I took classes about waste management where I learned about life cycle assessment, waste reduction strategies and process maps from case examples. As a graduate student I have learned how states are working on coming up with climate action plans and solid management is a key component. I am currently taking a course about Circular Economy to learn from business experiences how to balance the transition to circular economy considering economic, supply chain, social, technical, and environmental aspects.

I applied to the OASE program because I am interested in circular economy and sustainability so I think that this opportunity would allow me to apply the knowledge learned in class, use experiences to solve work challenges, and collaborate in creating sustainable solutions. I am most interested in the Ever Fresh Fruit Co Project because this company is looking to reduce its impact on the environment, and better understand its current impacts. I am excited to be part of establishing baseline measurements of water usage, waste water treatment and disposal and greenhouse gas emissions.

Hanna Storm Wroe: I am a senior in the ecological engineering program. I will graduate in December 2024. I will be at Pacific Seafoods as an intern working on reducing marine debris in shellfish/oyster farming. I am hoping to develop a plan to reduce the use of plastics during my internship while also learning to apply my classroom experience in a real-world environment.

Jamie Danielle McMurray: At the core of my professional pursuits is my desire to share my knowledge and expertise in sustainability principles with business stakeholders. The interdisciplinary nature of sustainability work, especially at the industry level, and the global impact that can be made from corporations implementing sustainable practices is inspiring. After graduation from OSU in 2025, I aim to enter a career in sustainability consulting and management to combine by background in business management and sustainability, expanding my impact to businesses working to improve theirs. I will complete an undergraduate honors thesis before graduating, and I am interested in researching the impacts of corporate social responsibility and reporting techniques on businesses sustainability initiatives and outcomes as well as their reputations in that project.

After graduating as Valedictorian from Pullman High School in Pullman, WA, I continued into higher education at Oregon State University. I began my college career with a major in Business Administration, but found a passion for sustainability through my introductory course work. This inspired me to add the Sustainability Double Degree to my academic plan as well as a minor in Organizational Leadership to best prepare me for a future in sustainability consulting and management. Delving into my studies of the interconnected nature of environmental, social, and economic principles has provided me with foundational knowledge of sustainability that will drive my personal, academic, and professional pursuits in the business landscape.

In the BRING and OCVA internship, I will be connecting with different hospitality businesses along the Oregon Coast, providing them with education and technical assistance to reduce their plastic pollution into the ocean. I will be researching environmentally-focused business practices and material alternatives to share with these coastal businesses, implementing and measuring impacts of these solutions, and learning the GreenBiz tracking system to facilitate operations and reporting.

Cate Lananh Stone: Growing up in Oregon and spending time outside in nature made me want to make sustainability and science a part of my future career. In particular, I became interested in water quality and pollution prevention after completing a high school research project on the effects of industrialization in the Willamette River. In college, I further developed this interest by volunteering with my university’s EH&S stormwater program, where I learned about environmental compliance and stormwater pollution prevention. I am excited to continue learning about water and BMPs this summer!

I am a rising senior at the University of California, San Diego. I am pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Systems, with a concentration in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. In Fall 2023, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city known for its robust sustainability efforts. This past spring, I was a part of the California Ecology and Conservation program, a 7-week field research course offered through the University of California Natural Reserve System. I completed 3 group research projects on natural reserves across the state, learning how to design a research question, develop methods, collect and analyze data, present findings, and write a scientific paper.

I am excited to join Pacific Seafood this summer as a Wastewater Pollutant and BMP intern! I will be researching and recommending solutions for improving best management practices (BMPs) and reducing waste in seafood processing wastewater.

Emily R LaBarge: I am very interested in forms of sustainable agriculture and finding solutions for the flaws in the current food and agriculture systems. Prior to this internship opportunity I hadn’t heard about insect agriculture as a way to do it, so I am very excited to work in the field and learn more.

I am currently a sophomore in college at Portland State University studying environmental science. My first year I studied environmental engineering and have since pivoted to environmental science. I am also hoping to get a sustainability minor and write a thesis through the PSU honors program.

My internship placement is with Chapul Farms through the OASE internship program. This summer, June-August, I will be working as an intern with the company assisting a project that aims to build insect agriculture food waste programs for local companies.

Mason William Shannon: I am currently studying the effects of wildfire on subsequent landslides and debris flows, providing an excellent introduction to fieldwork. I anticipate engaging in more research this fall, which will enhance my experience both in the field and in office settings. In the upcoming school year, I aim to pursue professional experiences aligned with my academic focus, such as a forester position or a role in a sawmill.

I graduated high school during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and immediately enrolled in community college to complete baccalaureate core classes for Electrical and Computer Engineering. After a year and a half, I transferred to Oregon State University to continue this degree but soon switched to Forest Engineering, which was a much-needed and desired change. I am now finishing my degree within the next two years and plan to complete additional certifications.

I will conduct Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA) on potential feedstocks and processes to help prioritize and select the most viable options for prototyping and pilot phases for this second generation. Additionally, I will investigate the integration of new products into existing ready-mix concrete facilities and the necessary retrofitting. Based on these factors, I will be creating detailed profiles of potential supplies and processes, providing actionable insights for the successful commercialization of the new product.

Katherine Rose Dollar: My professional interests are rooted in a deep commitment to environmental stewardship and social justice. It is my belief that developing localized, sustainable food systems fosters a healthy community that prioritizes food security and justice, values ecological balance, and is economically prosperous. In addition, I am passionate about promoting sustainable practices in plant nurseries, as well as horticulture production practices that repair soil structure, reduce chemical use and support biodiversity.

I am a senior at Oregon State University, majoring in Horticulture and Sustainability; and I have an AS in Agriculture Science from Central Oregon Community College. My studies in sustainability have focused on identifying and achieving sustainability goals for organizations, executing sustainability assessments, and monitoring their level of social and environmental responsibility; and my horticulture studies have focused on horticulture production, social justice within the horticulture field, and sustainable horticulture operations.

I will be conducting a food waste analysis for The High Desert Food and Farm Alliance in Bend, Oregon. I will be creating a thorough sustainability assessment regarding food waste from the farmer to the consumer, which will include data collection, quantifying waste, assessing its impacts, and identifying the root causes of the waste. With this information I can define goals and intervention strategies and create indicators and benchmarks to track progress.

Meet the 2024 Oregon Sea Grant Natural Resource Policy Fellows

Louli Caroline Ziels: I am moved by the intersections I’ve observed between coastal research, data, policy, knowledge, and art, and the interplay that can occur between them to form an understanding of how to best care for our coast. Specifically, I am curious how existing marine information can be shared in a way that informs policy, identifies data gaps, and encourages collaboration. I am eager to learn how networks that inform understanding can be complementary to each other, avoid duplication, and support purposeful data collection.

I graduated from the University of Portland (UP) with a B.A. in Environmental Ethics & Policy and in Spanish. Prior to starting my fellowship, I was an OSG Scholar for two sessions, collaborating with OCOIN to support their information-sharing objectives while developing a Strategic Plan for the upcoming year. Most recently, I worked as a subcontractor for Sea & Shore Solutions to help build a coastal research inventory. Apart from this and most importantly, I am an ongoing student of freediving, surfing, and my grandmas.

As an Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network (OCOIN) Fellow, I will work aligned with OCOIN’s mission of supporting informed decision-making for Oregon ocean and coastal management through data and information that is easily accessible, relevant, and current. In a building year for OCOIN, some main focuses will be creating an interactive mindmap to illustrate connections between regional information networks and advocating for processes that ensure equitable accessibility of marine information.

I will also be an Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) Fellow, supporting the OSG Summer Scholars Program with administrative tasks and working as a near-peer mentor during the summer session of scholars!

Kristen McAlpine: Kristen is interested in the human dimensions of natural resource management and the relationships between policy and communities. She is particularly interested in engaging Oregon communities in protecting their local environment. She hopes the fellowship will broaden her perspective of how citizens interface with environmental policy at a regional level, as well as how state agency and partner activities advocate for the protection of natural areas.

Kristen completed her M.S. in Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University in 2023. Her thesis research investigated the perceptions of Oregonians regarding the state’s marine reserves. She has a B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Oregon State University.

Working with the Ocean Shores team at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Kristen will help improve the decision-making efficiency regarding ocean shore permitting by providing up-to-date information on permitted activities, permit compliance, and information necessary for understanding cumulative impacts to the ocean shore. She will also evaluate the extent of unpermitted activities on a sampling of the ocean shore and create resources that contain updated statistics and decision support tools for use in future planning efforts.

Alyssa Purslow: Alyssa’s research interests include ocean plastic pollution, marine mammal conservation, coastal management, and marine policy. She is especially interested in bridging gaps between science and sustainable business practices within an environmental policy framework. Professionally, she aspires to become a marine policy specialist ensuring the protection and conservation of the world’s oceans and resources.

In 2019, Alyssa completed her undergraduate studies, earning a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a minor in Oceanography from Oregon State University. Currently enrolled at OSU again, she is actively working towards obtaining a Professional Science Master’s degree in Environmental Science with a focus on Water Resources. She expects to graduate in June 2024.

Serving as a 2024 Natural Resource Policy Fellow, Alyssa will be working with the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP), a non-profit organization located in Garibaldi, Oregon. Alyssa will be contributing to the restoration project impact summaries, writing an executive summary for all impact projects, and producing content for TEP’s 30th Anniversary outreach.

Kayla Stevenson: Hello! I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Kayla Stevenson, and I am currently a Natural Resource Policy Fellow with Oregon Sea Grant. I graduated from the University of Washington with a Master’s in Marine Affairs and a Master of Arts in International Studies in 2023.  I am a Tribal Climate Adaptation Specialist for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI). The purpose of my position is to write a climate change vulnerability assessment for the Tribe. This involves researching current climate change impacts that directly affect members of the Tribe, including issues such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, changes in precipitation, and more. The report includes an assessment of natural and cultural resources that will be affected by climate change. Impacts that I have so far noted are possible obstacles associated with recreation and harvesting, such as harmful algal blooms and toxic cyanobacteria which has the potential to harm people who are interacting with the environment. The climate change vulnerability report will serve as a jumping-off point for future climate change planning for the Tribe, including a climate adaptation plan. 

The climate change vulnerability assessment is a large undertaking and involves becoming an expert in a variety of topics and considering the possible impacts climatic changes will have on the tribe. In this role, it is of utmost importance for me to consider community concerns, as Tribal members are currently and will continue to experience the impacts of climate change. To engage the Tribal community, my supervisors and I crafted a climate change priority survey to assess what CTCLUSI Tribal members are most concerned about regarding climate change impacts. Part of the distribution of this survey included going to Florence to participate in and distribute surveys at the Tribal holiday party in December. It was an honor to be invited to the event. Tribal members sang songs, shared prayers, and enjoyed delicious food. This is a critical part of involvement at a socio-cultural level, as I felt that understanding community concerns about climate change would inform priorities for my research on the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. Additionally, it was informative to drive down to Coos Bay and Florence to get a visual understanding of CTCLUSI’s ancestral lands and current Tribal properties. Since I work remotely in Seattle, it was important for me to physically travel to Coos Bay and see the ecosystems that I am writing about. It has been an exciting couple of months, stay tuned for more to come!

Sam Cheplick: Greetings! My name is Sam Cheplick (He/Him) and I am currently a natural resource policy fellow with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Reserves program. I’m based at the ODFW marine resource programs South Beach office in Newport. A little bit of background on Oregon’s five marine reserves. The reserves range from Redfish Rocks on the southern Oregon coast to Cape Falcon on the northern coast, while the three other marine reserves are situated across Lincoln County on the central coast. They were phased in starting in 2012 until 2016 to conserve a variety of marine habitats while minimizing negative impacts to ocean users and coastal communities. Oregon marine reserves are unique in that they are mandated to monitor both the ecological and human dimensions of protecting nearshore ocean ecosystems, without negatively impacting coastal communities. In my role as a fellow, I’m working with ODFW staff to continue monitoring socioeconomic impacts to communities living in proximity to marine reserves along the Oregon coast.

In 2022, a team of academic scientists conducted a legislatively mandated decadal review of marine reserves that aimed to synthesize existing results and provide recommendations to be considered over the next decade. The primary objective of my work focuses on 1) supporting the development of an updated human dimensions monitoring plan, 2) developing tools that can be integrated into an adaptive management framework for monitoring marine reserves; and 3) assessing the economic impacts of nearshore resource management both within and outside marine reserves. What interests me most about this opportunity is the transdisciplinary nature of marine reserves. Approaches in ecology, economics and social science come together to answer broader questions of the role of protecting marine areas that informs management in the face of increasingly variable ocean conditions.

Maddie Foley: Hi everyone! I’m Maddie Foley, a fellow in the Natural Resource and Policy Fellowship working with Oregon Sea Grant to expand educational programs centered around the commercial fishing industry. Graduating with a Master’s in Biological Oceanography with a focus on the movement ecology of gulls from Stony Brook University, I found myself drawn to a more policy – oriented career path. Subsequently, I made my way back to the West Coast.

I’m passionate about science communication, accessibility, and sustainability. I believe that one of the greatest ways someone can contribute to sustainability is through their purchasing choices as a consumer. By purchasing from local sources of seafood, you’re supporting an industry that is geared towards sustainability and the people who make plating a fish possible. Knowing where food comes from and understanding the effort that goes into providing it is something that gives me feeling of confidence in what I choose to eat and respect to the environment that provided it. I aim to carry that feeling into my work, more specifically the pilot programs I, Jamie Doyle, Amanda Gladics, and Angee Doerr will be premiering in Charleston, Port Orford, and Brookings. I’m very excited to pilot and lead some tours myself, and can’t wait to see how our pilot programs go.

Discover Oregon Seafood tours are aimed towards anyone who has an interest in learning more about their local seafood industry and the people who are a part of it. Shop at the Dock tours that run in Newport, Oregon during the summer months provided the framework for Discover Oregon Seafood’s tours. The goal is to educate both locals and tourists on where and how they can buy fish when it’s being sold off the docks, how the gear that catches their fish works, and how the fishery itself is managed. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to chat with a local fishermen, and hear firsthand about the human dimension of commercial fishing! Shop at the Dock will be continuing in Newport and returning to Garibaldi this summer, along with our pilot programs. Dates for Discover Oregon Seafood tours and Shop at the Dock will be announced soon – so keep an eye out!

Alyssa Purslow: Hi all, my name is Alyssa Purslow, and I am currently serving as a 2024 Natural Resource Policy Fellow, working as a Restoration Project Impact Analyst for Coastal Watersheds with the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP). Located at the Port of Garibaldi, TEP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and restoring tidal wetlands. Our goals include building habitats, reducing flooding, reviving salmon and other native fish populations, supporting the restoration and growth of native plants, and providing education and public outreach to the local community.If you would like to learn more, please visit our website or social media pages listed below.

In Tillamook County, healthy estuaries are vital to the local economy and community. TEP is committed to improving watershed health through scientific methods and community involvement. Our mission emphasizes the importance of clean water in rivers, streams, and bays for current and future generations. As a grassroots, non-profit organization, we focus on estuarine restoration, monitoring, and education. Recognized nationally, we operate under a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), supported by partners, volunteers, and board members.

As the Oregon Sea Grant fellow, my role at TEP focuses on visiting and assessing post-implementation restoration, fish passage, and riparian area treatments in Tillamook County. I started with TEP remotely from the Bay Area in California, and for the past three months, I have been temporarily living on the Northern Oregon Coast to visit post-implementation sites. Of the 11 sites listed, I have visited 8, with the last 3 planned for the next two weeks. After completing these visits, I will return to the Bay Area and finish the rest of the work remotely.

I am currently visiting and documenting the success of these projects, which range from 5 to 20 years post-implementation. The sites span 5 watersheds: Tillamook, Trask, Nestucca, Kilchis, and Sand Lake-Frontal Pacific Ocean, 8 sub-watersheds: Middle Fork North Fork Trask River, Upper Tillamook River, Nestucca River, Beaver Creek, Farmer Creek-Nestucca River, Elk Creek-Nestucca River, Little South Fork Kilchis River, and Netarts Bay-Frontal Pacific Ocean, and 11 creeks: Cruiser Creek, Fawcett Creek, Killam Creek, Smith Creek, E. Beaver Creek, Wolfe Creek, Hawk Creek, Maps Creek, and Jackson Creek.

I look forward to posting my progress as I continue to work through the fellowship.

Kristen McAlpine: Hi everyone, I am currently a Natural Resources Policy Fellow working with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s (OPRD) Ocean Shore team. I completed my master’s degree in Forest Ecosystems and Society at OSU in 2023. My thesis research was oriented around the human dimensions of Oregon’s marine reserves, which introduced me to some topics of marine resource management. In my fellowship, I am getting even more acquainted with the myriad scientific and policy activities on Oregon’s coast.

Oregon’s beaches, which are all public, fall under OPRD’s jurisdiction and are collectively administered as a state recreation area. The agency’s Ocean Shore team is considered a “central resource” for the agency. While there are many beach and park rangers and managers stationed locally along the entire coast, our team is small, more administrative in function, and focuses on projects, issues, and policies that largely impact the coast as a whole. One of the main functions of our team is to process permit applications for alterations along the coast, such as the construction or installation of accessways (stairways, ramps, etc.), shoreline protective structures (riprap revetments, seawalls, etc.), or other elements that would then have a permanent presence in the public right of way. Aspects of my role include organizing and geolocating these permitted structures, performing an audit for compliance of permissible activities, and analyzing data obtained from these two tasks. As time allows, I will also use these findings to create communication materials for OPRD partners.

Some of my favorite days of my fellowship so far have – surprise! – been those that I get to spend on the beach. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to attend the Navigating Coastal Hazards Workshop put on by Cascadia Coastlines and Peoples Hazards Research Hub (Cascadia CoPes Hub), go on a tour of the north coast, visit a snowy plover habitat management area (we spotted three down near the surf!), and tour marine reserves with partners from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, OPRD, and Oregon State Police. I’ve also made a few visits out to the central coast to kick off my auditing project. More on that next time!

Meet the 2024 Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars

Linnea Gebauer: My name is Linnea Gebauer, and I’m a rising junior at Occidental College in Los Angeles, majoring in Biology with a minor in Religious Studies. I grew up in Southern Oregon, and have always loved taking trips to the Oregon Coast! Marine biology has always been an interest of mine, and I’m especially interested in the impact of human activity on the ecology and biodiversity of marine habitats. This past school year I’ve also had the opportunity to give science presentations at local elementary schools, and I’ve really enjoyed getting more involved in science communication and outreach! I’m passionate about making science accessible and engaging for all audiences. I’m also a student researcher in Occidental’s Computational Biology lab, where we focus on computational methods in urban wildlife ecology and conservation biology. I’m excited to explore the intersection of scientific research, outreach, and education this summer working with the ODFW Water Program!

This is me holding a boa constrictor in my Zoology lab!

Destiny Coleman: I am Destiny Coleman, a graduating senior studying Environmental Science at Florida A&M University. I plan to pursue a career in research and conservation of marine life and environments, specifically targeting marine mammals. Marine biology has been my passion since I was a child, and science and nature have worked their way into major portions of my life. I have a pet crested gecko (Harlequinn) and 7 “plant babies” that I enjoy incorporating into my daily life. Although I enjoy blurring the line between my career interests and personal life, I do value the friendships I have built throughout my college career and a large portion of my free time is dedicated to maintaining those relationships. I enjoy being the “planner” friend who always has creative ideas to bring diverse individuals together for something that can be mutually enjoyed. In my alone time, I have reclaimed my love for reading, scrapbooking, and I often dive and snorkel with friends from school. This summer, I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the SEACOR project and receive hands-on experience in coastal biology before I continue my career as an early scientist.

Here I am pictured in the Florida A&M University, School of the Environment laboratories with my pet fish and a few books I am currently reading. 

Ari Arellano: My journey into stem has been anything but linear. Born and raised in the Great Lakes State, it’s no wonder why I have always found solace being in or around water.  I knew from a young age that I wanted to work protecting our natural environment but I never imagined that it would be a possibility, that was, until I moved to Oregon.

Through pure hard work, dedication and determination I was able to land an internship with a local engineering firm, where I was introduced and mainly worked using spatial data and GIS. I currently work as a communications coordinator for a network of STEM hubs within Oregon, which work together to create equitable opportunities for students and educators to engage in STEM across the state.

I am currently a student at Portland Community College and plan on continuing my education at Oregon State University . My greatest academic interests are in water quality, restoration and sustainability.  I acknowledge that there are many different ways into the STEM world, and this opportunity is perfect to figure out exactly where I fit into this realm.  I am beyond excited to grow my GIS and communications skills which will help build a strong foundation for my STEM career. My dream is to be able to study ecological engineering and take what I learn back to my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Work hard, play hard. When I am not in class or at work, I take advantage of being on the west coast by exploring and experiencing all it has to offer. My most recent escapade involves the start of my scuba diving certification!

Samantha Dillard: My name is Samantha Dillard and I am an incoming senior at Oregon State University. I am studying Marine Studies and minoring in Marine Conservation and Management. I have grown to love writing, researching coastal communities, working with the public, and learning about marine mammals. Many of my classes this year have been about efficient science communication and its application for public use. I want to work with policy creation and including varying stakeholders into the climate change conversation. I have always been passionate about ocean science and am excited to learn more about the people’s side of protecting these resources.

Working with OCOIN this summer, I hope to gain professional experience in the conservation field, and relevant work skills. I am hoping to strengthen my communication skills with a variety of professionals. In my free time, I enjoy tide pooling, reading, and going on hikes!

Rana Almassmoum: My name is Rana and I am a junior studying marine studies with a minor in natural resources at Oregon State University. I am from Saudi Arabia but moved to Oregon for school a few years ago. Having spent my whole life along the coast, the ocean has always held a special place in my heart. I have fond memories of exploring the tide pools, fishing, and gazing out at the endless ocean horizon. Eventually, those memories inspired me to come to OSU, hoping to learn more about coastal studies in a different region. Given the global threats facing our coasts, I decided to concentrate my studies on coastal management and policy to strike a balance between ecosystem protection and public access. I hope to play a vital role in protecting coastal areas and allow others to develop the same sense of wonder for our oceans that I discovered as a child.

This summer, I am excited to take on an internship with ICAN that is focused on coastal management and global collaborations. This experience will help strengthen my existing skills and knowledge while exposing me to new areas that can benefit my grad school application as well as my career path. With this internship, I hope to gain the necessary experience that will allow me to work directly with global ocean initiatives, supporting the implementation of management strategies that will drive significant positive change for our coasts. 

Isaac Olson: I recently completed my time as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, where I studied Oceanography and Environmental Studies. Throughout my college career, I have studied a variety of coastal anthropogenic stressors, including ocean acidification (OA), harmful algal blooms, and microplastics. Communication, environmental justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion principles are central tenets of both my research and community work. Recently, I interned with NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, helping create a variety of regionalized OA communication and education materials as a Hollings Scholar.

This summer, I will be interning with the Oregon Coastal & Ocean Information Network (OCOIN), a partnership between Portland State University, Oregon State University, Oregon’s Coastal and Marine Data Network, and Oregon Coastal Management Program. Specifically, I will work to enhance the Oregon coastal and ocean information-policy network through a variety of outreach and tech-support projects, including by contributing to OCOIN’s outreach materials, research platform, and website. There will be a focus on equitable data sharing and sovereignty, something particularly exciting to me as a proponent of increased diversity and justice in the geosciences.

Enjoying sunrise in Anchorage, Alaska

Meet the 2022 Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars

Sophia Truempi writes: I am a senior at the University of Portland, where I study Environmental Ethics and Policy and Spanish. Many of my experiences throughout undergrad thus far have been focused on marine and coastal community research. These involve conducting marine field work in a Costa Rican fishing community while studying abroad, interning at a marine rehabilitation center in Ecuador during my gap year, and conducting undergraduate research on the intertidal ecogoemorphology of Oregon. These experiences have grown my interest in studying how marine-related issues affect coastal communities. Most recently, I completed my undergraduate capstone on coastal community vulnerabilities.

Working with the International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN), I hope to gain more knowledge on international collaboration, marine spatial planning, and coastal management, as well as strengthen my writing and communication skills. In the future, I hope to work with global teams to address the environmental issues coastal communities face through research, policy change, and sharing the stories of these communities via media and communication outlets.

Sophia Truempi ICAN Summer Scholar

Alex Ang – I am a 2022 graduate of Macalester College with an Environmental Studies and Creative Writing degree. Ever since I was young, I knew marine science was the field for me. During my time in undergrad, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of amazing experiences as a research assistant at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and as an NSF REU Intern at MOTE Marine Laboratory. I look forward to furthering my research skills and love for phytoplankton this summer studying harmful algal blooms with the Cooperative Institute of Marine Ecosystem and Resources Studies (CIMERS). 

I am taking a gap year to explore my creative pursuits of content creation before pursuing a PhD in phytoplankton ecology. My dream has always been to bridge my two undergrad majors together in my future career, so I look forward to exploring areas of outreach and creativity within the marine science field, as I also have a marketing and communications background. For example, I am currently working on an auto fictitious book that centers around an Asian American Marine Biology PhD student who uses science to explain the many things in her life like love, loss and grief. 

Alex Ang CIMERS Summer Scholar

Jaime Gutierrez is a senior at The University of Texas at El Paso pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a recently added minor in Data Science. Originally from a small town in the Chihuahuan state of northern Mexico, he now lives right at the border of two countries, experiencing, and being part of, the blend of two cultures. He likes to learn a little bit about everything, so there are hardly any things in the world that don’t appeal to him; although, just to name a few, technology, languages, music/film production, longboarding, and geography are things he could talk about for hours. Since childhood, he has been fascinated by life, nature, and the understanding of it all.

Jaime is thrilled to have the opportunity to improve his professional capabilities and build a career in science. He looks forward to helping maintain the Coastal Research Explorer platform, Oregon Explorer map tool, and facilitating collaboration among researchers and policy makers, as well as utilizing his particular perspective to contribute to the central mission of the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network (OCOIN). His goals and aspirations involve doctorate programs in bioinformatics after earning his undergraduate degree in 2023, which he hopes to use for working with data in biological research and possibly become a professor one day further into his career. As an OSG Summer Scholar, Jaime is excited to broaden his knowledge through professional development and to meet new people that enjoy science as much as he does.

Jaime Gutierrez OCOIN Summer Scholar

Louli Ziels – I am an incoming senior at the University of Portland, double-majoring in Environmental Ethics & Policy and Spanish. The connection I receive from the ocean and the relationship our natural environment bridges between people have always been my greatest motivator, both in my studies and recreationally. At UP, I have worked to build a diverse environmental science skill set, an understanding of international politics, and science communication. On the side, I work as a Trip Leader for the UP’s Outdoor Pursuits Program, sharing my love for Oregon Coast with other students through surfing and hiking trips.

I just finished studying abroad at the Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences as a Universidad San Francisco de Quito student. As part of the People, Politics, and the Environment track, I had the opportunity to center on marine-based socioecological projects in this fragile marine environment, learning from locals about their changing environment and snorkeling and surfing in every free moment to see for myself.

I am interested in marine and coastal management, aiming to understand the many ways we interact with the ocean and how we can keep it around longer. I am so excited to be part of OCOIN this summer and contribute to bridging ocean science and policy, learning from the diverse stakeholders involved in pathways to collaboration. 

Louli Ziels OCOIN Summer Scholar

Emma Chesley – I am graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I will obtain a B.S. in fisheries and wildlife, with an emphasis in conservation biology. I’ve grown to love conducting research through my experiences working in a variety of labs on campus, including virology, herpetology, and parasitology. I’m currently working to publish my undergraduate thesis which describes a new species of parasite found in the Galapagos Islands!

I’d like to pursue graduate school and perhaps a career in academia focused on marine invertebrates and ecosystem health. I am excited to gain hands-on experience in both these topics by working with the Shellfish and Estuarine Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) team. I hope to really immerse myself and learn about Oregon’s natural resources by working with all the collaborators on this project. I also hope to form valuable connections with a diverse group of individuals in the Summer Scholars program! 

Emma Chesley SEACOR Summer Scholar

Matthew Jack – I am a sophomore pursuing a computer science degree at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. I have a strong interest in environmental science and conservation fostered by my multiyear participation in an extracurricular club called Students Saving Salmon. It is led by a retired NOAA biologist, and I received an amazing exposure to many facets of the salmon lifecycle. We helped rear salmon at a local hatchery and conducted numerous water quality monitorings, population surveys, and habitat restorations.  Our findings were presented to the local city council each year and they earnestly accepted our findings as factual and reliable data on the current state of local salmon, and considered our recommendations for improving local salmon populations. I found all of this to be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience.

I do plan to pursue a postgraduate path, but I haven’t yet decided on the actual path. This summer, I hope to gain skills in software development while learning more about applying computer programming to environmental science. I am very excited for this Sea Grant Summer Scholar opportunity with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for the Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH). It is the perfect meld of my computing and environmental interests.

Matthew Jack OAH Summer Scholar

Meet the Oregon Sea Grant 2021 Summer Scholars

Charlotte Klein

Charlotte Klein will be working as part of a team at the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network to lead ongoing stakeholder engagement efforts, and optimize their survey and mapping tool. 

Charlotte just finished her junior year at the University of Oregon where she is double majoring in Environmental Science and Spatial Data Science and Technology. As an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Matt Polizzotto in the Soil and Water lab, she conducts research for the Metro Clean Water Partners, a coalition of officials from Oregon’s Lane County and the Cities of Eugene and Springfield, to identify sources of zinc contamination in waterways in the Eugene-Springfield metro area.

At OCOIN, Charlotte is looking forward to working with maps all day and facilitating collaboration between researchers, managers, and policymakers. Charlotte’s graduate school and career aspirations involve using spatial data analysis to inform policy and management decisions in aquatic environments.

Phoenix McFarland

Phoenix McFarlane will be working as part of the Human Dimensions team at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the socioeconomic impacts of Marine Reserve implementation on coastal communities. Here’s a bit more from Phoenix:

I am a sophomore at the University of Idaho. I am majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Geography. My childhood was spent in the mountains of the Boise National Forest near Idaho City, Idaho. Growing up in a rural town allowed me to find the outdoors at a very early age. To escape boredom, the backyard became my battlefield and crisp leaves the key ingredient to my potions (my younger brother was always the taste tester). This simply morphed into a love of enjoying my time outside. Today, I participate in many forms of outdoor recreation. Backpacking into alpine lakes has been my new obsession, but anything related to a blistering day with the comfort of a lake a few yards ahead is pretty ideal. Lastly, I am fascinated by the flora and fauna on earth and hope to spend my days appreciating and valuing the interconnectedness of our natural world.

My future professional goals are still undefined and quite broad. However, I see the next few years after receiving my bachelor’s degree as a period to decide what I would want to pursue for a master’s degree. Practically every topic regarding the environment or conservation interests me currently. Through hands-on experiences and the tackling of various research projects, I will hopefully have a better understanding of where I want my long term professional interests to develop. I hope to travel to new places around the United States, getting a better feel for where I would one day like to settle. Many years down the road, I would like to teach at the college level. Overall, when it comes to my professional goals I just want to wake up knowing I get to do what I love, and that in doing what I love, hopefully I can help save the planet and the beautiful life that resides upon it. During my time with the Summers Scholars program, I would like to get to know a group of diverse individuals on a personal level and discover how all our paths led us to pursue a career in conservation. Also, I have high hopes that this experience will assist me in narrowing down my professional interests and whether I could see myself living in Oregon in the future.

Lisette Perez will be working as part of the Human Dimensions team at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the socioeconomic impacts of Marine Reserve implementation on coastal communities.

Lisette is originally from the Southside of Chicago and attends the University of Missouri-Columbia. Lisette will be taking an additional semester and will be graduating in December 2021. She will obtain a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Science and Management and a Sustainability Certificate. She plans to attend graduate school to receive her Master of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Lisette is interested in natural history, national parks, and conservation. Her dream job would be to work as a Park Ranger. Some of her other career goals also include working for the National Geographic or the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

Andrea Vega

Andrea Vega will be working with the education and outreach team at the Haystack Rock Awareness Program to do primary school educational outreach, curriculum design, and create an online education center. Here’s a bit more from Andrea:

I am a recent graduate of the class of 2021 at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I received a B.A in Environmental Studies. Ever since my freshman year, I’ve been trying to get experience wherever possible, whether it was interning at city hall or working in geochemistry labs. Through my different internships and lab positions, I have found that I love the application of knowledge. 

Being raised in Southern California has exposed me to a lot of beautiful landscapes and ecosystems, but best of all has always encouraged me to experience the world through my curiosity. I attribute a lot of my successes to my ability to cultivate my curiosity. Along with past experiences, I am very excited to see how I can immerse myself into this program and all the questions that will come to mind. 

In the future, I’d like to pursue a masters in coastal science and policy. My main career interests lie in marine conservation, sustainable aquaculture, and coastal erosion. Through this program, I’d like to broaden my network and work on my skills as a professional. 

Amishi Singh

Amishi Singh will be working with the education and outreach team at the Haystack Rock Awareness Program to do primary school educational outreach, curriculum design, and create an online education center. Here’s a bit more from Amishi:

I am a junior at the University of Washington studying Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management. I hope to combine the science background of a degree in environmental science with my experience in education and love of the outdoors to make sustainability and environmental education more accessible to the communities that will be the most impacted by our changing planet.

After graduating I plan to either go to law school and work in environmental law or to work with organizations that work in environmental advocacy and education. My goals for this summer are to get more experience and exposure to working in environmental advocacy as well as learning how to push for change on environmental issues.

Grace Roa

Grace Roa will be working with Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to conduct host parasite challenge experiments on mud shrimp. Here’s a bit more from Grace:

I grew up being a water bug on Lake Lanier in Georgia, but spent every summer that I can remember on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. That’s where my love of the ocean comes from. My academic and professional goals relate to increasing awareness of marine environmental issues and promoting effective protection and management of marine resources. I would love most of all to do field research that can inform management decisions and educate others on strategies for protecting the marine environment. 

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Georgia in December 2020. I will be starting as a Master’s student in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State University in the fall. I’m excited for my first opportunity to do marine field work as part of the Sea Grant Summer Scholars program!

Mikay Reuter

Mikayla Reuter will be working with Oregon Sea Grant on the Eat Oregon Seafood initiative and programming for new fishers. Here’s a bit more from Mikay:

I am a recent graduate from Oregon State University where I majored in Oceanography with a minor in Environmental Science. One of the most memorable experiences of my undergrad was working as a commercial fisherman for a summer off the coast of Newport. I plan to draw on that experiences, alongside my research experiences, when working for the EAT seafood initiative this summer. My hope is to use the position to improve resilience in the Oregon fishing community as well as in Oregon ecosystems.

Next year I will be starting my masters degree at the University of Guam where I will be helping with ongoing coral restoration genetics research. This experience will build off my positions as a volunteer in the Dr. Vega-Thurber coral lab at Oregon State and as a student researcher for coral ecosystems in Thailand and Indonesia. Once I finish my masters I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in coral restoration. Through my work, I wish to help restore these fragile ecosystems, especially in locations with fewer resources to adapt to the changing environment.

Yalin Li

Yalin Li will be working the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia to develop outreach for stakeholders regarding hypoxia vulnerability. Here’s a bit more from Yalin:

I will be graduated from the University of Oregon in the Spring of 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and continuing my education at the University of California Davis in their Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management (EPM) program in Fall of 2021. During my time at the UO, I’ve been working as a research assistant in Dr. Kelly Sutherland’s Lab on a research project that focuses on how seasonal variations along the Pacific Northwest coast affect the nutritional state of jellyfish.

My interest lies in conservation management and policy, specifically around apex predators and reptiles, as well as helping make scientific knowledge more accessible and understandable to a wider audience. Through this opportunity, I hope to gain more knowledge about marine policy and resource management, as well as strengthen my skills in science communication.

Joshua Fackrel

Joshua Fackrell will be working as part of a team at the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network to lead ongoing stakeholder engagement efforts, and optimize their survey and mapping tool. Here’s a bit more from Joshua:

I am a post-baccalaureate student at Portland State University graduating this Spring with an interdisciplinary science degree and minors in environmental science and biology. My first degree is in economics, where environmental economics piqued my interest. After returning from some time away from school, a deeper incorporation of environmentalism with my education is providing a feeling of wholeness as my values become more deeply rooted. After this degree, I plan to continue my education in graduate school, where I would like to research marine contaminants.

Like all of us, my journey with environmentalism started at a personal level, where the changes I’ve made compound my motivation to change and grow. This growth invariably extends beyond myself, and as my influential boundary moves beyond family and friends I feel even more fulfilled. Working with Oregon Sea Grant and OCOIN this summer is an amazing opportunity to expand my love for the environment. My goal is to do work at the macro-community level to foster the improvement of life on our planet.

Jessica Fench

Jessica French will be working as part of the Human Dimensions team at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the socioeconomic impacts of Marine Reserve implementation on coastal communities. Here’s a bit more from Jessica:

I grew up on the Oregon Coast going to the beach and exploring tide pools. I studied archaeology at the University of Oregon before serving in the Coast Guard for four years. I love SCUBA diving and hope to incorporate that into a future career or research. I am currently studying marine biology at Oregon State University and am fascinated by human’s interactions with the marine environment.

The internship with the Human Dimensions Project will give me the opportunity to gain experience conducting research in the field while expanding my professional network and developing skills that will help me start a career in marine science. I also hope this experience will help me narrow down my career goals and decide if graduate school is the right choice for me.

Lucas Parvin

Lucas Parvin will be working with the education and outreach team at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve to implement summer camp programs and enhance education and outreach materials. Here’s a bit more from Lucas:

I am majoring in zoology and minoring in chemistry and psychology at Oregon State University. I’m currently working on the completion of my honors thesis (which is centered around investigating how bee movement and foraging behavior can be manipulated for conservation and agricultural purposes using visual attractants) through the Forest Animal Ecology Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Jim Rivers. I am also a new member to the Cornelius Bird Lab at OSU, where I assist in caring for red crossbills and will be trained to help conduct physiological research. I recently finished and presented research that I conducted in the Hacker Lab through the URSA (Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and the Arts) Engage program, in which I found nitrate concentrations in sand samples from the East Coast and compared them to samples from the West Coast. 

My greatest academic interests are in ecology and animal behavior; specifically, I am interested in how understanding ecological processes and animal behavior can lead to more effective wildlife management and community outreach strategies. I will be graduating next spring and pursuing a Ph.D. in a related field. I am in the process of finding prospective Ph.D. mentors and will begin applying for graduate programs this coming fall. I would like to eventually conduct research, profess, and be involved in wilderness management.

Meet Last year’s Oregon Sea Grant 2020 Summer Scholars

Angela Arrington

Angela Arrington
Angela will serve as a 2020 Summer Scholar with the Oregon Coastal and Information Network (OCOIN). Here’s a bit more from Angela:

I was born and raised in Portland, OR and have had the privilege to enjoy clean beaches, full forests, and diverse deserts. I hope to use my science background to help influence positive environmental policy, especially for communities that have traditionally experienced environmental harm. I am very excited to start my position with OCOIN this summer and learn more about how we can incorporate science into policy-making!

I am a 2020 graduate from Portland State University, where I will have earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Science with minors in Environmental Science and Sustainability. In the fall, I will be starting a master’s program at the University of Oregon in public administration, with a focus on natural resource management.  

Emily Cook carrying a pack, hiking on a trail

Emily Cook
Emily will serve as a 2020 Summer Scholar with the Oregon Coastal and Information Network (OCOIN), working to help facilitate collaboration and promote the use of scientific data in decision making. Here’s more from Emily:

I am a senior at the University of Idaho studying Natural Resources Planning and Management.  I have lived on the Palouse River all of my life and was homeschooled until high school when I started online community college and simultaneously earned my associate’s degree and high school diploma.  I live with my family on a small farm with sheep, horses, cows, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, chickens, a zebra finch, and a handful of fish.  I used to raise rabbits for 4H and have way more knowledge about them then I will ever need again!  I enjoy reading and drawing outside with my six cats and our various chickens.  

I have been involved in a venture crew for four years and my family has been involved in scouting for as long as I can remember.  I recently earned my summit award, which is the venturing equivalent of a boy scout earning their eagle.  My relationship with the outdoors has always been strong, and I have always been passionate about environmental issues.  My family is the same way, and my parents have taken my siblings and me to many national parks.  

My goals for this summer are to learn about outreach, education, and communication in the conservation field. I am interested in outreach and bridge-building between people and organizations and in educating people about environmental and conservation issues.  I also want to learn about developing and managing a professional network.

A fun fact about me, is that I love backpacking and have been on two and a half 50- mile week-long backpacking trips and one 12 day trip that was 70+ miles. 

Rachel Hilt sitting on a rock with a view of mountain peaks behind her.

Rachel Hilt
Rachel’s Summer Scholar position is still under development and more information will be available soon. Here’s how Rachel describes her academic and professional interests:

I recently graduated from the University of Miami with degrees in Marine Affairs and Anthropology. My experiences throughout undergrad have been centered on studying the complex interactions between coastal communities and their environmental impacts, and even involved completing a semester abroad in the Galapagos Islands. This has fostered my interest in learning how to address and solve environmental issues from a grass-roots level.  

In the future, I plan to go to graduate school to complete a master’s degree in Conservation Biology. I would like to continue to work with organizations that specialize in conducting research and educating the public to inspire action on environmental issues.

Natalie Holsclaw

Natalie Holsclaw
Natalie will be working as a 2020 Summer Scholar with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Newport, Oregon studying the habitat use of shellfish aquaculture by fish and invertebrates.

Natalie is finishing her last semester at Northern Kentucky University towards a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. Last summer she worked as an intern with Mote Marine Laboratory studying the impacts of ocean acidification on corals. She hopes to go to graduate school to get a doctorate in marine science.

Natalie is interested in how climate change affects ocean ecosystems. More specifically, she is interested in how ocean acidification affects calcifying organisms like corals and shellfish as well as their ecosystems.

Jenna Livingston

Jenna Livingston
Jenna will also serve as a 2020 Summer Scholar with the Oregon Coastal and Information Network (OCOIN). Here’s a bit more from Jenna:

My name is Jenna Livingston and I am a senior at the University of Arizona studying Environmental Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering. I’m from Sahuarita, Arizona and live at home with my parents, older brother, and two dogs that I love more than anything. 

This summer, I hope to gain a larger network of members of the scientific community in order to further educate myself on emerging pollutants and environmental problems that I hope to have a hand in solving one day. Throughout my college experience, I have come to learn the importance of communication between scientists and engineers, because their research shapes how engineers modify and develop technology in order to keep people safe and healthy. I have a vested interest in water quality and am strongly considering pursuing water treatment once I have finished college, so it will be very interesting to learn about new findings in pharmaceutical and microplastic pollution, among other things.

I also have an interest in practicing any executive skills, as I one day hope to manage a regional branch in the Federal Government, particularly in the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Any training I could have with communication, outreach, delegation, and leadership would be much appreciated. This summer I hope to develop my professional skills within the scientific community in order to prepare for a career I hope to start this time next year.

Lucas Parvin

Lucas Parvin
As a 2020 Summer Scholar, Lucas will be working with the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (SSNERR) on their outreach and education materials.  Here’s how Lucas describes his academic and professional interests:

Next year will be my 3rd year attending Oregon State University’s Honors College. I am majoring in zoology and am minoring in chemistry and psychology. I am involved in an undergraduate research lab through URSA (Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and the Arts) that studies how beach grass affects coastal ecology. I am extremely interested in animal behavior and ecology. I hope to begin my honors thesis research this coming school year; if all goes as planned, I will be studying the behavior of bees and relating their behaviors to ecological impacts.

 After my time at OSU, I plan to attend graduate school to earn a PhD in biology. I would like to eventually become a professor, conduct research of my own, and manage a wildlife reservation. I am particularly interested in how varying animal behaviors can lead to either ecological success or failure.

Rachael Peterson

Rachael Peterson
As a 2020 Summer Scholar, Rachael will be working with the Environmental Protection Agency analyzing ocean acidification datasets. Here’s how Rachael describes her academic and professional interests:

This is me in the Napier lab helping one of my lab mates prepare mice food for an experiment examining how diet affects sepsis severity. The Napier lab focuses on innate immunity, which has become a passion of mine since I joined the research team. Lately, I have been very interested in learning about how climate change and ocean acidification affect osmoconformers such as mollusks on a molecular level. I am particularly interested in how this affects their immune system, since they lack the adaptive immunity that we rely on for protection against many pathogens. I had a professor once describe ocean water as “pathogenic soup”, which sparked my interest in learning how these organisms are able to protect themselves when they are surrounded by microscopic killers. 

 After graduate school I hope to become a research professor so I can share my love for molecular biology. It is my goal to study the molecular effects of ocean acidification and climate change on soft-bodied invertebrates, such as gastropods and cephalopods. I am also very curious to see how extreme environmental changes alter their ability to protect themselves against pathogens. This is why I am very excited to work on Dr. Steve Pacella’s project with the EPA and see how ocean data relates to oyster health.

Kealohi Sabate

Kealohi Sabate
Kealohi was selected to work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine the perceived impact of Oregon Marine Reserves implementation on local businesses and communities, but this opportunity has been postponed till 2021. Coming from Hawaii, the tourism industry makes up a big part of the state’s economy, and she is very interested in learning more about the visitors’ understanding of these areas in hopes to be able to implement this knowledge back home. 

Kealohi recently graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa with a B.S in Global Environmental Science. Currently she is taking a year off to work on publishing her senior thesis and plans to apply for grad school this coming fall.

As a Native Hawaiian, lands are sacred in Kealohi’s culture, and with the continuous development occurring, a lot of the culture and natural environmental beauty of the islands is being lost. The Hawaiian tourism industry relies on strong cultural identity and a healthy environment, but also impacts traditional ways of life and the delicate island ecosystem. Tourism is something that will never change, but coming up with a better solution to safely incorporate tourism while still maintaining the integrity of the land is a challenge Kealohi wants to further explore.

Chris Schmokel

Christopher Schmokel
Chris is a post-baccalaureate student at Oregon State university majoring in Environmental Chemistry. He has been involved in a number of conservation field projects in Eastern Oregon, and most recently spent the summer of 2019 as part of a USGS team researching invasive small mammals in the Mariana Islands. Chris currently works at a wildlife population genetics lab on the OSU campus. 

Chris loves exploring on the water, whether sailing, scuba diving, or kayaking, and he is excited to be able to apply his education in chemistry to marine conservation issues. Chris is especially interested in studying the connections between marine ecosystems and ocean chemistry, and his career goal is to work for an agency like EPA whose mission focuses on the interrelationship between environmental chemistry and biology. Chris’ Summer Scholar position is still under development. 

Kelly Soluri
This photograph was taken during research activities permitted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission under permit numbers SUP 16011 (USFWS), 19496 (NMFS), and MTP-19-243 (FWC) under conditions not detrimental to this animal. Please do not attempt to recreate the contents of this image without appropriate training and authorization.

Kelly Soluri
Kelly was selected to work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in their Shellfish and Estuarine Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) program to create shellfish recreation outreach documents catered to the Spanish speaking communities in Oregon.

Kelly Soluri is a recent Florida State University graduate in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology. She has researched with Dr. Mariana Fuentes in the FSU Marine Turtle Research, Ecology, and Conservation Group helping with the surveying, in-water capture, sample collection, and data processing of sea turtles. Previously, Kelly was an intern for the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation in Washington D.C., where she worked toward furthering U.S. interest in international science diplomacy.

Kelly has strong interests in ecological and migration processes in oceanic and coastal systems as a result of climate change and anthropogenic pressures. As a Floridian, she wishes to support coastal communities globally that deal with sea level rise, resource insecurity, and intensifying natural disasters. She is also passionate about science literacy for all and the uplifting of minority communities in STEM.
Connect with Kelly: LinkedIn | Facebook

Essie Timofeyenko

Essie Timofeyenko

Essie’s 2020 Summer Scholar position is still be determined. Here’s a bit more from Essie: 

I just finished my senior year at Oregon State University, where I have been working on my B.S. in Environmental Sciences, with a specialization in Conservation, Resources, and Sustainability. I spent the summer of 2019 on a faculty-led program in Hawaii, which  explored the ecology and conservation of Hawaiian coral reefs. We compared our class data to data from previous years to evaluate the richness of diurnal fishes associated with coral reefs over time. 

I have always been drawn to marine biology and after finishing the program, my future professional interests lie in marine conservation/education/outreach.

Sophia Truempi

Sophia Truempi
Sophia was selected as a 2020 Summer Scholar to work with Travel Southern Oregon Coast in Bandon, OR. However, due to COVID restrictions this summer, Sophia’s position was canceled. Here is more from Sophia: 

I just finished my sophomore year at the University of Portland in Oregon, where I am studying Environmental Ethics and Policy. I spent the fall of 2019 studying abroad in Costa Rica. Afterward, I conducted field research monitoring and measuring sea turtles, sting rays, and skates in a Costa Rican fishing community. I am interested in studying the effects of ocean acidification and harmful algal blooms on marine species, while also contributing to conservation efforts through the use of policy development, outreach, journalism, and sustainable coastal tourism as mechanisms to preserve these marine species and vulnerable coastal communities.

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2 thoughts on “Meet the Scholars

  1. Hello, I am hoping to contact Ms. Stephan-LaBoeuf regarding some Tillamook Bay water quality permits and potential threats to the bay caused by recent ODEQ exemptions for a new facility. I thought it might come into the ares she is studying please contact me at this email or 210-527-7631. Thanks.

  2. Cheers to
    Arianna de Souza
    We all are so proud of you, your work and all your accomplishments.
    Good on you .
    Uncle Mike

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