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Gulf Research Program
Gulf Research Program  >   Fellowships  >   Science Policy Fellowships  >  
 Current and Past Science Policy Fellows

Our Science Policy Fellows gain first-hand experience at the intersection of science and policy as they spend one year on the staff of federal, state, local, or non-governmental environmental, natural resource, oil and gas, and public health agencies in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Jump to our Science Policy Fellows from:
 2018


spf_2018_cockrell Marcy Cockrell
Host Office: ´╗┐Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

´╗┐Tallahassee, FL


Dr. Cockrell holds a Ph.D. in marine resource assessment from the University of South Florida (USF) and an M.S. in marine science from Northeastern University. Her dissertation work used fisheries-dependent datasets and novel statistical modeling to understand the response and resilience of commercial reef fishermen to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and recent management changes in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Cockrell has gained experience in science communication and policy through a variety of forums, including participation in organized Congressional visits to Capitol Hill, leading a science communication workshop, and working as a science mentor for three years with USF’s Oceanography Camp for Girls. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Cockrell worked as a research technician at Brown University, where she conducted extensive field work to investigate the ecology of urbanized estuaries.
spf_2018_culver Michelle Culver
Host Office:
Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program
Gulfport, MS

Ms. Culver graduated from Baylor University with a B.S. in environmental science and earned an M.S. in coastal and marine system science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her thesis research explored the relationship between beach geomorphology characteristics and Kemp’s ridley nesting habits along Padre Island, Texas. While in graduate school, Ms. Culver served as Project Manager for the Harte of the Gulf Film Competition, an outreach event with the mission of engaging the Gulf of Mexico community through education and film. Prior to her fellowship, she was a coastal geoscientist in the Coastal and Marine Geospatial Lab of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, where she participated in a project relating to coastal resiliency.
spf_2018_ernst Kathleen Ernst
Host Office:
NOAA RESTORE Science Program
Stennis, MS

Dr. Ernst holds a Ph.D. in environment and climate sciences and an M.S. in geography with a minor in environmental policy from the University of Tennessee, as well as a Bachelor’s in geography and sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on resilience and adaptation planning in urban, energy, and water systems and on public lands. Specifically, she studies the creation and use of information for adaptation and resilience decision-making, evaluates the types of adaptation and resilience actions that are taken, and studies ways to identify and act upon opportunities that create co-benefits and synergies across sectors rather than negative consequences or tradeoffs. Kathleen has conducted research at the Urban Dynamics and Climate Change Sciences Institutes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; at the Stockholm Environment Institute in Stockholm, Sweden; and most recently in Norrköping, Sweden as a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Scholar.
spf_2018_keating Kathryn Keating
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA

Ms. Keating is a Ph.D. student in sociology at Louisiana State University (LSU). Her research focuses on healthcare, mental health, and disaster resilience. She is also interested in data collection methods for social science research. Ms. Keating holds a B.A. in sociology and a Bachelor of Social Work from Indiana University, a Master of Social Work from Portland State University, and will complete a MA in sociology from LSU in August 2018. Most recently, she worked as study coordinator for the Resilient Children, Youth and Communities (RCYC) Project, a partnership between LSU and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. The RCYC project utilizes a longitudinal, mixed-methods approach to understanding resilience outcomes for Louisiana children, families, and communities following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Keating is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Louisiana with a clinical background in integrated behavioral health and work with rural communities.
spf_2018_oyenuga Christianah Oyenuga
Host Office:
Harris County Public Health
Houston, TX


Ms. Oyenuga, a native of Nigeria, is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science with a concentration in environmental policy and risk management at Florida A&M University School of the Environment. Her research explores smallholder farmers’ approaches to adopting climate-smart agricultural practices and the decision-support tools smallholders will need in order to contend with increasing climate variability. Ms. Oyenuga previously worked at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, where she measured and reported citywide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. More recently, she piloted a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory and customized a framework for sustainability reporting at American Tire Distributors as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow. Ms. Oyenuga holds a B.S. in chemistry from Texas Tech University and an M.S. in chemistry from Florida A&M University. She studies climate change mitigation and adaptation processes and policies that advance renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, and climate justice.
spf_2018_robinson Elizabeth Robinson
Host Office:
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Robinson earned a B.S. in biology from Centenary College of Louisiana, a M.S. in biology from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, and a Ph.D. in oceanography and coastal sciences from Louisiana State University. Prior to graduate school, she interned at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) working on a project involving hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Her dissertation research focused on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on mollusk and crustacean populations, behaviors, and predator-prey interactions. She was recognized as a Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Scholar for her contributions to understanding the effects of the oil spill. Her general research interests include coastal ecology, benthic ecology, and aquatic toxicology. In her free time, she communicates science through art using color pencil and ink media. Her passion in art and science aided the development of LUMCON’s Coastal Art and Science Camp for high school students.
spf_2018_servais Shelby Servais
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fairhope, AL


Dr. Shelby Servais holds a Ph.D. in biology from Florida International University and earned her B.S. in environmental science from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Dr. Servais’ dissertation, conducted in the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research Network, investigated how changing environmental conditions affect soil microbes. She worked in the Florida Everglades and tested how saltwater intrusion alters how soil microbes process carbon and nutrients. Dr. Servais is also enthusiastic about science outreach and was a Science Communication Fellow at the Frost Museum of Science while completing her graduate program.
spf_2018_smith Kelcee Smith
Host Office:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Austin, TX

Ms. Smith is currently a Ph.D. student at Louisiana State University, where she studies genetic and population dynamics of the federally endangered smalltooth sawfish. She has worked with smalltooth sawfish since 2009 as both an intern and fisheries biologist for NOAA Fisheries. She received her Bachelor’s degree in marine biology with minors in chemistry and mass communication from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. Her experience working with endangered species and communicating complicated science to the public has led to her interest in science policy. Upon completing her degree at LSU, Ms. Smith plans to work as a liaison between scientists and policy makers to ensure effective and efficient use of resources affecting imperiled species recovery. Ms. Smith is a founding member of the LSU Women in Science organization, where she works to bring together female graduate students, faculty, and staff across disciplines.
spf_2018_vu Huy Vu
Host Office:
The Water Institute of the Gulf
Baton Rouge, LA


Dr. Vu obtained his undergraduate degrees in biology and political science and doctoral degree in biology at the University of Houston. His research explored how organisms and ecological systems respond to global changes, focusing on the reciprocal feedbacks between crabs and headward eroding creeks along the southeastern Atlantic Coast. Mr. Vu has also placed strong emphasis on public outreach and education. As part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research program, he has mentored more than 25 K-12 teachers and 15 high school and undergraduate students. In 2015, he was selected to represent the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and gave a TED-style talk at the University of Houston Graduate Research and Scholarship Project Day.
spf_2018_wilson Benjamin Wilson
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lafayette, LA


Dr. Wilson holds a Ph.D. in ecology from Florida International University (FIU) and an M.S. in marine biology from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of Alabama. His research has focused on how coastal wetlands respond to environmental stressors in a changing climate, specifically how sea level rise and saltwater intrusion will affect plant and soil communities. Dr. Wilson has received many awards for his research, including Best Dissertation by the FIU College of Arts, Sciences, and Education; the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant; the FIU Dissertation Year Fellowship; and the Ecological Society of America’s Braun Award for Best Student Poster. Dr. Wilson also strives to communicate the importance of coastal ecosystems, and the threat climate change poses to them, beyond an academic audience. As a Science Communication Fellow with the Frost Science Museum in Miami, Florida, he has participated in countless outreach events around the Miami community.

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 2017


sp-2017-bernik Brittany Bernik 
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA


Bio: Dr. Bernik holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Tulane University, and earned her B.S. in environmental biology as a Newcomb Scholar. Her dissertation research focused on the ecosystem consequences of genetic variation in salt marsh grasses. More recently, Dr. Bernik has been examining plant-microbe dynamics in petroleum-contaminated marshes as well as the socioecological responses of urban vegetation following Hurricane Katrina.

Fellowship Summary: As a fellow at the RESTORE Council, Dr. Bernik’s responsibilities spanned grant review, program coordination, and meeting facilitation. She compiled a database of data management plans for RESTORE-funded projects and programs, drafted and presented on a white paper about community resilience, and helped lead meetings for the Council Monitoring and Assessment Program. She also participated in a variety of workgroups, including the Long-term Data Management and Coordination Working Group, the Monitoring Coordination Committee, and the Funders Coordination Forum.
sp-2017-blomberg Brittany Blomberg
Host Office:
Texas General Land Office
Austin, TX

Bio: Dr. Blomberg holds a Ph.D. in coastal and marine system science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her dissertation research, conducted at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, focused on the ecology and restoration of oyster reef systems. Prior to entering graduate school, she attended The University of Tampa, then Purdue University to earn her B.S. in biology.

Fellowship Summary: In her time as a Science Policy Fellow with the Texas General Land Office, Dr. Blomberg primarily focused her efforts on conducting policy research to inform the drafting of regulatory changes related to shoreline management in Texas. This work included meeting with agency staff, identifying potential regulatory challenges, and reviewing policies and reports from other coastal states related to promoting living shorelines.
sp-2017-durham Stephen Durham 
Host Office:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Tallahassee, FL

Bio: Dr. Durham graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in biology and earned his Ph.D. in paleontology with a minor in conservation biology from Cornell University. His dissertation research focused on comparing the lifespans of fossil oysters that lived during a warmer time in the past—a potential analog for future warming—with those of modern oysters.

Fellowship Summary: During his fellowship at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office, Dr. Durham’s work centered around two major projects: the Statewide Ecosystem Assessment of Coastal and Aquatic Resources (SEACAR) and the Florida Coastal Management Program Annual Meeting. His primary tasks included planning fieldwork, writing contracts, running webinars, and participating in project meetings. In addition to these two major projects, he also helped review grant applications for the Coastal Partnership Initiative program.
sp-2017-frometa Janessy Frometa
Host Office:
NOAA Restore Science Program
Stennis, MS

Bio: Ms. Frometa earned an M.S. in marine biology from the College of Charleston and a B.S. in biology from the University of Florida. Prior to her fellowship, she worked as a biologist at NOAA’s Deep Coral Ecology Laboratory examining the health of deep sea coral ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. As part of this work, she assisted in the damage assessment following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Fellowship Summary: During her fellowship at the NOAA Restore Science Program, Ms. Frometa was involved in a variety of aspects of project and grant management. She helped narrow down priorities for funding opportunities, review pre-proposals, and develop responses to applicants. She also served as a technical monitor for a funded project and created procedures for documenting tasks, milestones, and performance metrics.
sp-2017-jankowski Krista Jankowski
Host Office:
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
Baton Rouge, LA


Bio: Dr. Jankowski earned her Ph.D. in earth and environmental sciences at Tulane University, where she focused on wetland responses to environmental change on annual to millennial timescales. Previously, Dr. Jankowski earned a master's degree in climate and society from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in geology and political science from Macalester College.

Fellowship Summary: As a Science Policy Fellow with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), Dr. Jankowski helped on a variety of short- and long-term projects, including the System Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program and the Queen Bess Island restoration project. She used her technical expertise to review internal reports, grant applications, and other documents, and joined a number of project teams to provide guidance and shape institutional research needs.
sp-2017-jennings Meredith Jennings
Host Office:
Harris County Public Health
Houston, TX

Bio: Dr. Jennings holds a B.A. in chemistry from Hendrix College and a Ph.D. in marine and atmospheric chemistry from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. Her graduate research focused on the biogeochemistry of carbon and nutrients in the ocean. Specifically, she used an analytical chemistry approach to investigate the environmental controls of marine dissolved organic carbon concentration.

Fellowship Summary: In her work at Harris County Public Health, Dr. Jennings worked on several projects at the intersection of climate change and health, including developing a climate health risk profile for Harris County and recruiting speakers for the first climate change and health panel at the annual One Health Conference. She also conducted stakeholder engagement activities such as survey collection, meeting support, and workshop facilitation and served on various external committees as both a technical expert and a regional stakeholder.
sp-2017-lee Philip Lee 
Host Office:
Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program
Gulfport, MS


Bio: Mr. Lee is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alabama, where he studies the relationships between abiotic parameters, soil microbial communities, and nitrogen enzyme activity in wetland soils. Mr. Lee received a B.S. in secondary education with an emphasis in biology from the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and an M.S. in freshwater microbiology from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Fellowship Summary: While a fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program, Mr. Lee was involved in activities spanning educational outreach, government grants, and policymaking. Projects he was involved with included visiting elementary schools to discuss the importance of conservation, assisting with grant proposals and review, and helping to develop a citizen science lab with the University of Southern Mississippi Coastal Campus.
sp-2017-mansfield Laura Mansfield 
Host Office:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico Region
New Orleans, LA

Bio: Ms. Mansfield received a B.A. from Hampshire College with a self-designed concentration on the political economy of petro-states. She received an M.A. in international affairs with a focus on energy policy and international security studies from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her master’s thesis explored the relationship between oil and self-determination movements through case studies on Greenland and Iraq.

Fellowship Summary: During her fellowship at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Ms. Mansfield supported the work of the Social Science Unit. As part of her work, she was involved in summarizing studies to gather information for National Environmental Preservation Act documents, conducting research on oral history best practices, participating in the Tribal Working Group, and assisting in identifying infrastructure at risk from mudslides.
sp-2017-reeves David Reeves 
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lafayette, LA


Bio: Dr. Reeves holds a Ph.D. in oceanography and coastal sciences at Louisiana State University (LSU), an M.S. in oceanography and coastal sciences from LSU, and a B.S. in biological sciences from Loyola University New Orleans. His graduate research focused on evaluating the ecological value of oil and gas platforms as habitat for reef-associated organisms.

Fellowship Summary: As a Science Policy Fellow with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dr. Reeves was involved in work spanning project management, restoration planning, and stakeholder outreach. He provided oversight for large-scale restoration projects, facilitated multi-agency and multi-stakeholder meetings, wrote a chapter for a Gulf-wide avian monitoring plan, and coordinated the submission of potential research projects regarding Gulf Coast ecosystems.

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 2016


Butler  Debra Butler
Host Office:
Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program
Gulfport, MS


Bio: Ms. Butler is a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts Boston College of Management. Her research focuses on organizational responses to climate change, particularly processes of socio-political hybridization, community resilience capacity, and environmental migration/diaspora. Ms. Butler also holds an Ed.M. and certificate in leadership education (Harvard) and an M.B.A. and certificate in ethics from Spring Hill College.

Fellowship Summary: As a Science Policy Fellow with the Environmental Protection Agency, Ms. Butler provided support for the Gulf of Mexico Program’s science and community engagement teams. As part of her work, she met with stakeholders, designed projects for future collaborations, wrote research and pre-project specifications and narratives, represented the program at community events, and established and maintained trust-based relationships with tribal and Gulf coast communities.
Charles Makyba Charles-Ayinde
Host Office:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Gainesville, FL


Bio: Dr. Charles-Ayinde was born in Trinidad and received her Ph.D. in public health from the University of Florida. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in biology at Florida A&M University and Purdue University, respectively. Dr. Charles-Ayinde’s graduate research assessed seafood safety following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Her research discerned seafood consumption patterns of residents of coastal communities along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Fellowship Summary: During her fellowship with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Dr. Charles-Ayinde was involved in a wide range of projects, including leading the expansion of a program to reduce the human health risk associated with importing agricultural goods, evaluating an inspection rating system for food safety and food defense, and conducting a cost analysis of mosquito control techniques. She also helped expand the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom program to include elementary students within the private school system.

Dorans Kirsten Dorans
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA


Bio: Dr. Dorans completed her undergraduate degree in bio-organic chemistry at McGill University. In the years following, she completed internships at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the American Chemical Society, and Nature Medicine, and worked as an assistant editor at a Nature Publishing Group journal. Dr. Dorans then returned to school at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to receive a Sc.D. in epidemiology.

Fellowship Summary: As a fellow at the RESTORE Council, Dr. Dorans supported the Council’s public engagement activities, assisted in writing a proposal on ecosystem restoration and community resilience, and collaborated to write white papers on how science review panels can be used to review proposals. She also assisted with reviewing the Council’s grants systems upgrade and collaborated with groups involved in ecosystem restoration and related activities throughout the Gulf of Mexico region.
Kolic Paulina Kolic
Host Office:
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
Baton Rouge, LA

Bio:
Dr. Kolic obtained her B.S. in chemistry from California State University Channel Islands and her Ph.D from Louisiana State University. Dr. Kolic’s dissertation work involved the improvement of solar conversion efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells through optimization of photosensitizing dyes. Dr. Kolic has participated in environmental research in Louisiana including the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Mississippi River flood events.

Fellowship Summary: At the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) of Louisiana, Dr. Kolic was involved in a diverse array of work. Her primary project was to develop assessment and reporting methods for CPRA’s coastal restoration and protection program, which consisted of gathering background information on assessments from various ecosystems. She also assisted with the Louisiana Center of Excellence RESTORE research grants, prepared a white paper on vehicular traffic on coastal beaches, and worked with a team to evaluate proposals for a $20 million restoration matching program.
Mickle Alejandra Mickle
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fairhope, AL

Bio: Ms. Mickle received her B.S. in biology from Florida State University. As an undergraduate, she interned and later became a lab technician at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. Ms. Mickle received her M.S. in Biological Oceanography at Florida State University, where she studied the trophic ecology and bioaccumulation of mercury in deep sea hagfishes from the Gulf of Mexico.

Fellowship Summary: As a Science Policy Fellow at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Field Office, Ms. Mickle was able to be involved in several NRDA cases in the Gulf of Mexico, including Superfund sites and oil spills. Her primary involvement was providing support to a team of federal and state agencies working to develop tools to facilitate restoration, monitoring, and adaptive management in the Gulf of Mexico.
Pree Krystal Pree
Host Office:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Tallahassee, FL


Bio: Dr. Pree earned her Ph.D. at the School of the Environment at Florida A&M University, where she is investigated the risk to recreational fishers from exposure to red tides. Dr. Pree also holds an M.S. in environmental science from Baylor University and a B.S. in fisheries biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Outside of academia, Dr. Pree has interned with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the United States Geological Survey, and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Fellowship Summary: During her fellowship with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Dr. Pree worked with the Divisions of Aquaculture, Agricultural Environmental Services, Animal Industry, Plant Industry, and Food Safety. Her work included meeting with commercial shellfish farmers concerned about red tide blooms, developing educational and training materials for farmers and beekeepers, leading a work group to improve communication between FDACS and employers of the food industry, and writing a white paper on the efficacy of aerial versus ground spraying for mosquito reduction.
Roest Geoffrey Roest
Host Office:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico Region
New Orleans, LA

Bio:
Mr. Roest is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. His research focuses on emissions from unconventional oil and gas operations in the Eagle Ford Shale in southern Texas. He has a B.S. in meteorology from Plymouth State University and an M.S. in geosciences from San Francisco State University. Prior to his fellowship, he worked as an intern meteorologist, where he gained experience in atmospheric chemistry research.

Fellowship Summary: At the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Mr. Roest assisted staff with permitting review, environmental assessments, and regulatory development. He reviewed emissions associated with planned oil and gas activities in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, reviewed the air quality sections in environmental impact statements, and contributed to a review of proposed updates to existing air quality regulations. He also performed a number of short-term projects, such as writing project management plans and reviewing research proposals.
Saum Lindsey Saum
Host Office:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Austin, TX

Bio: Dr. Saum received a B.A. in microbiology and genetics from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in environmental microbiology from the University of California, Riverside. As an undergraduate, she studied the inhibition of human viral pathogen replication by amino acids and proteins. During graduate school, Dr. Saum turned her focus to the environment and studied communities of oil-degrading bacteria found in beach sediment contaminated by oil still lingering from the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Fellowship Summary: As a fellow with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department, Dr. Saum worked on projects related to oil dispersants, desalination, legislation, and blue crabs. She helped produce a white paper detailing the current research on dispersants and how it applies to Texas coastal ecosystems, assisted in identifying coastal regions where construction of seawater desalination plants would cause the least amount of environmental damage, and helped complete research and communications projects related to the department’s input on proposed blue crab regulations.
Sharuga Stephanie Sharuga
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lafayette, LA


Bio: Dr. Sharuga received a Ph.D. in oceanography and coastal sciences from Louisiana State University, where she studied and developed approaches for evaluating deep-sea benthic megafaunal communities in the northern Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She also holds an M.S. in environmental management and sustainability from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. in biology and earth and ocean sciences from the University of Victoria in Canada.

Fellowship Summary: During her fellowship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Gulf Restoration Team, Dr. Sharuga assisted with science coordination for research and restoration activities throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. Her work included identifying science and management needs and research objectives, project and program management and oversight, preparing and submitting grant proposals, organizing workshops and outreach activities, and supporting science and management staff. She also attended many meetings, conferences, and workshops around the Gulf of Mexico region.
Young Caitlin Young
Host Office:
NOAA RESTORE Science Program
Stennis, MS

Bio: Dr. Young completed her Ph.D. in geosciences at Stony Brook University. She holds an M.S. from Stony Brook University and a B.S. from Tulane University. Her dissertation research investigated transport and biogeochemical processing of nutrients in coastal aquifers, with a focus on how groundwater-sourced anthropogenic nitrogen impacts coastal water quality. After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Young accepted a post-doctoral position at the University of Florida investigating how salt water intrusion will impact biogeochemical processing in coastal aquifers.

Fellowship Summary: At the NOAA RESTORE Science Program, Dr. Young assisted with the research and development of long-term strategic priorities in the areas of freshwater inflows, climate change, and experimental restoration. She led a Coordination Forum Science working group, served as technical monitor for NOAA-funded research efforts, assisted in preparing environmental compliance memos, and co-authored a white paper which provides recommendations on implementing best-available science in multi-state restoration projects.

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 2015


2015 Policy Del Angel_cropped Diana Del Angel
Host Office:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Tallahassee, FL


Bio: Ms. Del Angel received a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Texas at Brownsville and an M.S. from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Before her Science Policy Fellowship, she was a coastal geoscientist in the Coastal and Marine Geospatial Lab of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, where she participated in projects relating to coastal hazards and hurricane impacts and in stakeholder-driven coastal assessments and planning initiatives for Texas.

Fellowship Summary: During her fellowship, Ms. Del Angel worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office (FCO), which manages coastal and aquatic areas around the state. Part of her work included developing a framework for an approved Coastal Zone Management Section 309 project, which seeks to develop a statewide ecosystem assessment program for Florida submerged, state-managed areas. She also assisted in coordinating program activities with partner agencies by attending meetings and workshops to share information about work conducted by the FCO.
2015 Policy Gomez_cropped Elizabeth Gomez
Host Office:
NOAA RESTORE Science Program
Stennis, MS

Bio: Ms. Gomez studied marine ecology as an undergraduate, spending time in different laboratories on the East Coast and graduating from Brown University with a B.S. in biology. Subsequently, she spent two years working in an environmental consulting firm, where she gained broad experience in the field working with multiple clients and agencies. Ms. Gomez received her M.S. in marine science at Stony Brook University, where she used a model to understand impacts of oyster restoration on fish communities.

Fellowship Summary: As a fellow for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program, Ms. Gomez learned how a large federal agency works and the behind-the-scenes process involved in designing and releasing a funding opportunity. She served as a technical monitor and point of contact for a Federal Funding Opportunity award, acting as the point of contact between the principal investigators and NOAA, helping to identify potential end-users of project research, tracking project progress against proposed milestones, and communicating any issues with program staff. She also assisted in developing and publishing a new funding opportunity focusing on living coastal marine resources.
2015 Policy Henkel_cropped Jessica Henkel
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA


Bio: Dr. Henkel received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane University. She holds an M.S. in biology from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. in English from Stony Brook University. Her dissertation research investigated how environmental changes and habitat degradation are impacting the coastal habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and the effects these changes are having on bird populations that migrate through them.

Fellowship Summary: As a fellow for the RESTORE Council, Dr. Henkel helped facilitate coordination among various stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico region on science to support restoration projects, programs, and impacts on the environment. She served as co-representative on multi-agency workgroups related to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the RESTORE Act, facilitated the integration of programmatic goals into the Council’s grant administration process, and assisted the Council’s Science Director with a variety of tasks, including writing and editing responses to public comments, facilitating public webinars, and working with staff to draft and review an update to the Council’s Comprehensive Plan.
2015 Policy Ren_cropped Cholena Ren
Host Office:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico Region
New Orleans, LA


Bio: Ms. Ren is a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Louisiana State University (LSU) and an alumna of the University of West Florida. Her undergraduate research included polymer syntheses that could be used in future cancer treatments. She continued her education at LSU, working towards her Ph.D. in chemistry at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Center. For her dissertation research, she studies particulates generated from combustion processes.

Fellowship Summary: At the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the majority of Ms. Ren’s fellowship involved reviewing Exploration Plans and Development Operations Coordination Documents for BOEM’s air quality division. During this time, she became knowledgeable in federal policies related to air quality, air dispersion modeling, and BOEM’s environmental assessment requirements. Though her work mainly focused on air quality, she was also able to learn about other subject areas, such as water quality, oil spill response, biology, and archeology.

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