Thursday, May 26, 2016

National Sea Grant Office

NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office administers funding to the Sea Grant colleges throughout the nation and oversees several national funding competitions. They also facilitates both the Department of Commerce designation of Sea Grant College Programs and the Sea Grant program assessment process.

Find contact information for our staff in the directory below, learn more about the people who work here in our staff biographies, see assignments for Federal Program Officers, and view our organizational chart.


Deputy Director: Nikola Garber

Mailing Address / Directions

Phone / Fax
Phone: 301-734-1066
Fax: 301-713-0799

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Staff Directory

Click on a staff members name to see their picture and bio in the Staff Biographies section below the Directory.

Browse records in that    Search     
Last NameSorted By Last Name In Ascending OrderFirst NameTitlePhoneEmail
AzizSharonSystems Analyst
[Acentia/Maximus Contractor to NOAA]
BerksonJimNMFS Liaison to Sea Grant (301)
BradyPegSenior Program Manager(301)
BrownJoshuaChief Focus Area Officer (301)
CarlsonDornProgram Director for Research(301)
CarneyBrookeCommunication Specialist(301)
ChorneyDavidProgram Manager(301)
CroxtonAprilAquaculture Specialist(301)
EarlyLauraCoastal Specialist
[Sea Grant Knauss Fellow]
EigenJonathanChief Financial Officer(301)
EllisChrisNOS Liaison to Sea Grant(843)
FornaceKyrstinIntegrated Water Coordinator
[Sea Grant Knauss Fellow]
GalkiewiczJuliaFellowship Coordinator
GarberNikolaDeputy Director(301)
GarciaRobinCommunication Specialist
[Acentia/Maximus Contractor to NOAA]
HayesChrisActing Director of Planning and Evaluation(301)
HindenJenniferProgram Support Specialist
LurieMatthewNational Ocean Council Fellow, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
[Sea Grant Knauss Fellow]
McCartyAmandaActing Assistant Director for Network Relations(301)
PiankaKarenAquaculture Fellow, NOAA Office of Aquaculture
[Sea Grant Knauss Fellow]
PorllesKatherineFinancial Analyst
[CollabraLink Contractor to NOAA]
RobinsonMaryProgram Assistant(301)
RohringElizabethEngagement Lead(301)
ShewErinClimate Preparedness Fellow, White House Council on Environmental Quality
[Sea Grant Knauss Fellow]
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Sharon Aziz (Acentia/Maximus Contractor to NOAA) is a Systems Analyst for the National Sea Grant Office.  She currently part of the PIE team (Planning, Implementation and Evaluation) for the Performance Review Panels. 

She graduated from Columbia Union College in 2006 with a BS in Biology and is currently working towards pursuing a Project Management Professional Certificate. Sharon previously worked as a scientist for Life Technologies, but realized she enjoyed the business aspect and decided to go a different route. Prior to joining Sea Grant, Sharon was a program analyst for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), where she worked in the Project Management Office. She overlooked budgets, risk mitigation meetings, made sure the projects were on track and made sure resources were available for each program.

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Jim Berkson, Ph.D., is the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Liaison to Sea Grant in the National Sea Grant Office.  Jim facilitates the creation of new partnerships between NMFS and the National and State Sea Grant offices around the country. Jim is also the Program Officer for Alaska, California, and Washington Sea Grant Programs.
Jim received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at San Diego, his Master of Science from the University of British Columbia, and his Ph.D. from Montana State University.  Jim has worked for federal, state, and tribal fisheries management agencies. He has also been an academic, teaching at the University of Oregon, the University of South Florida, and the University of Florida and earning tenure at Virginia Tech.  Utilizing both his agency and academic backgrounds, Jim has a long history of creating new partnerships.  Since joining NOAA in 2003, Jim created and led the NMFS Recruiting, Training, and Research program, designed to recruit outstanding undergraduate and graduate students into the field of population dynamics and into jobs with NOAA.

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Margaret M. (Peg) Brady is currently on a 12-month detail with Sea Grant as a senior program manager focusing on planning, implementation, and evaluation (PIE), and is the program officer for Maine, MIT, New Hampshire, and Woods Hole Sea Grant Programs.

Since 2008 Peg served as the NOAA senior policy liaison to the National Invasive Species Council and Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and concurrently served as NOAA Fisheries Division Chief for planning and program evaluation. She continues to chair the Interagency National Ocean Policy Ecosystem-based Management Interagency Work Group. Peg joined NOAA in 2003 as the NOAA Habitat Program Coordinator. Peg has also completed the NOAA Leadership Competencies Development Program (LCDP) where she served as the coordinator to the U.S. Interagency Committee on Ocean Science and Resource Management Integration at the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality and developed programs at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Prior to joining NOAA, Peg served as the Assistant Secretary within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Director of the Commonwealth’s Coastal Zone Management Program, and as a marine research scientist and instructor at a variety of labs and institutions in the Northeast.

Peg holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Rhode Island and participated in M.I.T.’s Environmental Policy Group, the U.S. Federal Executive Institute, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Senior Management Program.

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Brown, Joshua E.

Joshua E. Brown, Ph.D., is the Chief Focus Area Officer for the National Sea Grant College Program.  He is the Program Officer for Guam, Hawaii, Oregon and University of Southern California Sea Grant Programs.

Joshua developed and oversaw Sea Grant’s Coastal Communities Climate Adaptation Initiative as well as NOAA Sea Grant's responses to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Hurricane Sandy, and other coastal disasters. He served on NOAA’s Post-Sandy Service Assessment team, coauthoring the final report. He coleads the Mitigation and Adaptation Services objective team under NOAA’s Climate Goal. He is a member of a range of federal agency teams, including the NOAA Climate Adaptation Team and FEMA's Community Planning and Capacity Building Recovery Support Function team. 

Dr. Brown received his PhD in 2009 in Earth, Ecology, & Environmental Sciences from the University of Toledo, his MS in Integrative Biology in 2004 From Brigham Young University, and his BA in Biology in 1999 from Wabash College.  He is a coauthor on eight peer-reviewed publications and has presented information on his research, evolutionary ecology, sustainability, hazard resilience and climate adaptation to diverse audiences in professional societies and community organizations. After receiving his doctorate degree, Joshua joined the National Sea Grant Office as a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, working on sustainable coastal development and community resilience. He stayed with Sea Grant after his fellowship, continuing to focus developing programs to support community resilience.


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Carlson, Dorn

Dorn Carlson is the Program Director for Research and the Program Officer for the Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia Sea Grant Programs as well as the National Sea Grant Library.

Carlson is a long-time Federal bureaucrat, formerly regulation developer for the EPA, Environmental Manager for an R&D Facility, Supervisory Research Chemist for the Navy, and Powder Monkey. Starting in 1979, he worked for 10 years as a research chemist for the Navy, then another seven years as the Environmental Compliance manager of a Naval Sea Systems Command Research facility in Silver Spring, Maryland. He then helped develop joint Navy-EPA environmental regulations, first for the Navy, then for EPA.

Since 2000, Carlson has worked for NOAA as a Sea Grant Program Officer. In 2007, he became the Research Director of Sea Grant.

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Carney, Brooke

Brooke Carney is the Communication Specialist with the National Sea Grant Office and is currently focused on coordinating the 50th Anniversary of Sea Grant.

Prior to joining NOAA, Brooke worked with the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program, Alaska Region as the Science Communication Specialist for the region. She has also served as both Coastal Training Coordinator and Education Coordinator for Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida where she specialized in developing and delivering education and training programs for diverse audiences and facilitating management and policy development processes. Brooke holds Master’s degrees in Biology from the University of Alaska Anchorage and in Public Administration from Georgia Southern University.

Chorney, David

David Chorney is a Program Manager for the National Sea Grant Office and will be working with PIER, contracts, partnerships with the National Weather Service, the resilient communities focus area and water activities.

David has his Masters Degree from Air University in Leadership, a Masters Certificate in Homeland Defense from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, a Bachelors Degree in Meteorology From Florida State University, and an Associated degree in Computer Science from St. Petersburg College. David is currently an officer in the USAF reserves. David's Master Thesis was about Climate Change and the effects it will have on Canadian homeland security and the Northwest Passage. From 1987 to 1989, while at Florida State University, he did on air weather for a local television station in Tallahassee, Florida. David was in the US Air Force on active duty from 1989 to 1993 and is a veteran of Desert Storm. After the USAF, he joined NOAA and went into the National Weather Service and worked at the Weather Service Office in Hartford, CT. In 1994, David got promoted and went to work at the National Hurricane Center in Miami as a forecaster until 1998. After leaving NHC, He went to work at the Ocean Prediction Center in Camps Springs. During that time period, while in the reserves, David was recalled to USAF active duty at US Central Command, where he was the lead weather man for the war in Afghanistan. After September 11, 2001, David was recruited to work for the USAF as a civilian where he was the Deputy Branch Chief of a weather unit for homeland defense of North America. He had the privilege to brief President George W. Bush in person during the landfall of Hurricane Rita, just after Katrina.

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April Croxton , Ph.D. is currently on detail with the National Sea Grant Office as an Aquaculture Specialist.  

Prior to her National Sea Grant Office detail, April was a Fishery Biologist at the NOAA Fisheries Milford Laboratory, in Milford, CT.  Her primary research within the Aquaculture Enhancement Division focused on the impacts of environmental stressors on the immune physiology of bivalve species, both nationally and internationally.  She has also served as the Program Coordinator for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program as a NRAP detailee.  April joined NOAA in 2003 as an Office of Education Graduate Sciences Program Fellow while completing her dissertation research at Florida A&M University.   She holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences and a B.Sc. in Biology from Virginia Union University.

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Early, Laura

Laura Early is the Coastal Specialist in the National Sea Grant Office. She is a recipient of the 2016 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Laura is pursuing her M.S. in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development at the University of Georgia, and received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. In between degrees, Laura contributed to field research, education, and outreach at Little St. Simons Island, GA. She also monitored sea turtle nesting with the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative and Cumberland Island National Seashore, as well as worked to inspire young ocean advocates at Sanibel Sea School. Laura's Master's thesis work utilizes ecosystem services modeling to inform local decision-makers about potential impacts of land use change in coastal Georgia.

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Eigen, Jonathan

Jonathan Eigen is the Chief Financial Officer for the National Sea Grant College Program, Designated Federal Officer for the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, and the Program Officer for the Connecticut, Illinois-Indiana, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania Sea Grant programs.

Jon graduated from the University of Maryland in 1988 with a BS in Marketing and Finance.  He completed his Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis of Business Economics and Public Policy from The George Washington University.   His duties with the National Sea Grant College Program include all aspects of the Budget and Grants administration as well as serving as Program Officer for the Great Lakes Region.   Prior to joining NOAA in 1991 he worked in television sports for the now defunct Mizlou Sports News Network. His hobbies include basketball, reading science fiction/fantasy and board games. 

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Chris Ellis, PhD, is a social scientist with NOAA's Office for Coastal Management, in Charleston, SC and currently on detail to the National Sea Grant Office as the NOS Liaison.

Chris has training in environmental sociology, survey design and implementation, recreation and tourism choice behavior, organizational behavioral networks, and social-psychological interaction with the coast. He has extensive experience in working with state and local municipalities to build capacity in coastal conservation, and community resilience. He also has a growing portfolio of projects that lend technical assistance to the National Weather Service to build social science capacity within the Office. Working currently for NOAA, and formerly for both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, he has gained unique perspectives of how the public and institutions understand, perceive, and use natural resources, particularly in coastal areas. He is an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston, where he works with students on an array of human dimensions-based research topics. Chris completed his PhD in Coastal Resources Management from East Carolina University in 2005.

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Fornace, Kyrstin

Kyrstin Fornace, PhD is the Integrated Water Coordinator, a joint position between the National Sea Grant Office, Climate Program Office, and Office of Weather and Air Quality. She is a recipient of the 2016 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Kyrstin received a PhD in chemical oceanography from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in 2015 and a B.S. in chemistry from MIT in 2009. Her dissertation research focused on past monsoon variability and the effects of past climate change on the terrestrial carbon cycle in tropical South America. As a graduate student, she participated in the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) program and several other Earth science education activities. Outside of research, she also spent time developing her skills as an amateur graphic designer. 

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Galkiewicz, Julia

Julia Galkiewicz, Ph.D, is the Fellowship Coordinator, managing the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship program and the NMFS Sea Grant Fellows program. She is also the National Office liaison with the Sea Grant Educators Network.

Julia was previously a Communication Specialist with the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, where she also spent a year as a 2012 Knauss Fellow, managing projects that allowed scientists to share their cutting-edge research with other scientists, Congress, and the public. Julia also worked at the American Geophysical Union on the Thriving Earth Exchange, a new effort to connect communities with Earth and space scientists to solve global challenges on a local level. Julia received her Ph.D. in Marine Science at the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science and her B.Sc at the College of William and Mary.

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Garber, Nikola

Nikola M. Garber, Ph.D., is the Deputy Director of the National Sea Grant College Program.

In her role as the Deputy Director of the National Sea Grant College Program, Kola administers funding to the 33 Sea Grant colleges throughout the nation and oversees several national funding competitions, facilitates both the Department of Commerce designation of Sea Grant College Programs, and the Sea Grant program assessment process.  Kola joined NOAA Sea Grant in 2000 as the Sea Grant Knauss fellowship manager and has since held positions as the Assistant Director for Administration and most currently as the Deputy Director.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Bowling Green State University, a Master of Science degree in marine science/molecular biology and a Ph.D. in International Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. Her dissertation researched NOAA’s response to Hurricane Mitch and formulated a plan for Reconstruction Planning in NOAA.  In 1999, Dr. Garber was a recipient of the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship working as a legislative fellow for Senator Ron Wyden. 

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Robin Garcia, (Acentia/Maximus Contractor to NOAA) is the Communication Specialist for the National Sea Grant Office. 

Robin was recently the Aquatic Specialist for Charles River Laboratories supporting the National Institutes of Health and she is the Vice President of Communications for DC EcoWomen.  Robin's career in science and communication is exemplified by several years of communication experience including two publications in peer-reviewed journals and extensive knowledge of social media use to share information.  Robin has served as a Marine Science Technician at Savannah State University and a Research Assistant for the NOAA Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston, S.C. In addition, Robin is an active volunteer and experienced facilitator.   Robin received her M.S. in Marine Biology with Aquatic Toxicology Concentration from the College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C.  She received her B.S. in Marine Science, Biology, and Chemistry from the University of Miami.

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Hayes, Chris

Chris Hayes is the Acting Director of Planning and Evaluation, and is the Program Officer for the  North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi-Alabama, Puerto Rico, Texas, and New Hampshire Sea Grant programs. He is also the Program Officer for the National Sea Grant Law Center.

Chris has a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia and an M.S. in Fisheries Sciences from Virginia Tech. As an undergraduate, Chris spent a year visiting five diverse countries through the International Honors Program: Global Ecology. Funded through the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), he published assessments of three species of hammerhead shark populations in his Master’s thesis. He was awarded the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in 2008 and worked in the NMFS Partnerships and Communications office. After some time with the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program, Chris joined the National Sea Grant Office in 2010 and led development of the PIER database. In 2013, he initiated the Sea Grant Social Science Community of Practice and served as OAR's social science liaison to NOAA. In 2014, he became manager of the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.


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Hinden, Jennifer

Jennifer Hinden is the Program Support Specialist for the National Sea Grant Office and has been with Sea Grant since 2012. In her current role, she supports the Director, Acting Deputy Director, Acting Director of Communication, and the National Sea Grant Advisory Board.

Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership.  Prior to joining Sea Grant, Jennifer was the Public Information Officer for Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management. There she provided information to media outlets by generating news, releases, holding press conferences, and acting as department spokesperson and media liaison to disseminate agency related information to inform and educate the public. She also spoke with various public schools and Senior Citizen groups on emergency preparedness and weather safety.

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Lurie, Matthew

Matthew Lurie is the National Ocean Council Fellow, supporting both the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Sea Grant Office. He is a recipient of the 2016 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Matt is a trained ecologist and science educator. He received a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from the University of California at Los Angeles followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research focused on plant invasion ecology in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. As a science educator Matt is passionate about promoting science literacy. He served as an undergraduate instructor for biology and natural history courses, co-wrote the online marine science curriculum Exploring our Fluid Earth, and facilitated professional development workshops for Teaching Science as Inquiry: Aquatic Science through the Curriculum Research & Development Group at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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McCarty, Amanda

Amanda McCarty is the Acting Assistant Director for Network Relations at the National Sea Grant Office.

Amanda came to the Sea Grant from NOAA’s Climate Program Office in Silver Spring, Maryland where she works on domestic and international climate policy, negotiations, and partnerships. Since joining NOAA’s Leadership Competency Development Program in July 2014 and prior to her position at Sea Grant, Amanda has worked on two rotational assignments, first as the Deputy Director for the National Weather Service's International Affairs Office and then as a Senior Policy Analyst in the National Marine Fisheries Seafood Inspection Program. Amanda is originally from Minnesota, a place she still thinks of as home. She received her B.S. in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington and her M.S. in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She was a 2008 Sea Grant Legislative Fellow with the Democratic Staff of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

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Pianka, Karen

Karen Pianka is the Aquaculture Fellow in NOAA's Office of Aquaculture, supporting both the Office of Aquaculture and the National Sea Grant Office.  She is a recipient of the 2016 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Karen is finishing her dual Master's degrees in Marine Policy and Marine Biology from the University of Maine at Orono. Her marine policy research has focused on shellfish and seaweed aquaculture as an income diversification opportunity for commercial lobstermen, and her marine biology research has explored the development of ecologically friendly treatments for blister worms in Eastern oysters. Karen's background includes experience working in the aquarium industry as well as serving as the Wildlife Permits Coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Both of these experiences afforded her the opportunity to work close to the interface between science and policy, which she is looking forward to continuing.

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Katherine Porlles (CollabraLink Contractor to NOAA) is the financial analyst for three OAR offices - Sea Grant, Ocean Acidification, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. 

Katherine graduated from George Mason University with a BS in Marketing and Finance. Prior to joining NOAA, Katherine worked as a financial analyst for BAE System supporting the DDG51 shipbuilding program at the Navy. She also worked as a finance and contract analyst at Abt Associates in the domestic health division where she managed a portfolio of 15 projects. During the summer season Katherine worked on proposals and was in charge in the creation of the budgets and all the other supporting documents for the business volume.

Katherine loves to travel and tries to spend her birthday week in another state or another country. She enjoys meeting new people and learning about new cultures. She speaks Spanish and a little bit of French.

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Robinson, Mary

Mary Robinson is the Program Assistant for the National Sea Grant Office. 

Mary is originally from North Carolina, and studied data programming at Rockingham Community College. While working at Annie Penn Memorial Hospital as  data analyst, Mary decided she wanted to become a nurse and returned to school to study nursing and worked at the hospital for nearly 7 years. Mary has been with Sea Grant since 1990.

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Rohring, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Rohring is the Engagement Lead for the National Sea Grant Program Office.  She is also the coordinator for the Sea Grant Social Science Community of Practice, and the Program Officer for Lake Champlain, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Sea Grant Programs.

Elizabeth received her Master’s degree from Yale University, with advanced study areas in conservation biology of coral reef ecosystems and social ecology of natural resource users.  She has worked with the NOAA Ocean Service International Programs Office on socioeconomic issues relating to Caribbean MPAs and also as a Sea Grant Extension Agent in the U.S. Virgin Islands, focusing on engagement with the local fishermen.  She is the co-founder of the VI Coral Conservation Consortium and the Virgin Islands Network of Environmental Educators.  She also served on the steering committee of the Caribbean Regional Association for CariCOOS. Prior to joining Sea Grant’s National Office, Elizabeth most recently worked as the COSEE Senior Ocean Science Education Specialist for the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History Sant Ocean Hall.  She is currently working on her Ph.D. at George Mason University in climate change outreach and engagement.

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Shew, Erin

Erin Shew is the Climate Preparedness Fellow, supporting both the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the National Sea Grant Office. She is a recipient of the 2016 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Erin is concurrently pursuing an MA in Arctic and Northern Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research looks at the ways in which natural resource management systems promote or detract from resilience in fishing communities. Prior to beginning her fellowship, she worked as an anthropologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Subsistence conducting research on the use of wild foods in rural Alaska. Erin has also served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Native Village of Eyak's Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a communications intern for Renewable Energy Alaska Project. She has a deep love of cold places and a passion for helping communities implement practical solutions to build resilience and sustainability

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