A film crew shooting divers about to go overboard with dive gear on--blue ocean and bay behind
Kacy Cooper, 2022 CBE Summer Fellow shown sitting left, helped to found a non-profit organization The California Kelp Restoration Corps (CKRC) with the mission to protect and actively restore California’s kelp, in part by culling the invasive purple urchin.

For graduate students, the chance to gain professional experience and field-specific knowledge through real-world opportunities is invaluable.

Students enrolled in the Environmental Policy masters program who are pursuing the specialization in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management are eligible for funded Center for the Blue Economy positions throughout the year, with full-time positions during the summer and during their practicums. The CBE Summer Fellows process begins in early spring to identify opportunities with innovative and internationally recognized marine organizations. The center provides a list of possibilities, and students may suggest additional fellowship organizations. Each project must positively affect ocean and coastal sustainability, help the host organization fill a critical need, and better prepare our students for their future careers. Below is a list of our most recent summer fellows. Their stories, along with tales from our CBE Summer Fellows and past fellows can be found at our CBE Summer Fellows Blog

Center for the Blue Economy 2023 Summer Fellows

Elle Bent with a slight smile, with beach, dunes, mountains at sunset in the background

Student name:  Eleanor (Elle) Bent


Protecting marine biodiversity in the Thermal Dome

Location: Working remotely with in-person meetings in El Salvador and Costa Rica

June 1st – August 1st, 2023

Elle will join the SARGADOM Project at MarViva this summer in the Costa Rican office. She will further Marviva’s efforts to implement conservation and sustainable management actions for the Thermal Dome, a marine biodiversity hotspot in the high seas —by completing a research project on shipping routes in the context of the new high seas treaty. Her project will consist of interviewing members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Comisión Centroamericana de Transporte Marítimo (COCATRAM) to determine perceptions and understanding of how the high seas treaty will influence maritime shipping activities, as well as how these organizations plan to adapt their activities and collaborate. Eleanor will travel to El Salvador and Costa Rica in mid-June to identify stakeholders in both organizations, begin the interview process, and meet with members of Marviva. At the end of her internship, Eleanor will write a research paper summarizing her findings and submit it to be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.


Hannah Ditty smiling brightly with the banks of River Seine (Quais de la Seine) in Paris behind her

Student Name:  Hannah Ditty (Ditty)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Nature-based solutions to restore ecosystems of the Mekong delta

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

June 5th – September 1st, 2023

Coastal ecosystems – mangroves, coral reefs, seagrasses, and tidal marshes – are some of the most productive on Earth. In recent years, their significant role in sequestering and storing ‘blue carbon’ is also increasingly being recognized by policymakers. In addition to mitigation benefits, these coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems are home to a wealth of biodiversity and provide communities with essential ecosystem services, such as coastal protection from storms and land erosion, and nursery grounds for fish. As such, they provide a full spectrum of mitigation, adaptation, and protection benefits. The conservation, protection, restoration, and sustainable management of these important ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems are therefore valuable climate actions, which can be achieved from the application of nature-based solutions (NbS).

In order to ensure that NbS effectively and at scale strengthen the delivery of mitigation (and adaptation) benefits from ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems in contribution to achieving Viet Nam’s mitigation targets announced in its 2022 Nationally Determined Contribution, the proposed project intervention Strengthening Nature-based Solutions to Restore Ecosystems, Conserve and Enhance Blue Carbon Stocks and Biodiversity in Viet Nam.

Hannah Ditty will be working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam on nature-based solutions to restore ecosystems, conserve and enhance blue carbon stock with biodiversity, land protection, and livelihood co-benefits in coastal landscape mosaics of the Mekong delta. The project objective will be achieved through the implementation of four inter-related and mutually complementary components that are focused at addressing existing threats and barriers:

• Component 1: Enhancing national, regional, and provincial policy and institutional frameworks for mainstreaming, developing, and implementing NbS to restore ecosystems, conserve and enhance blue carbon stocks and biodiversity.

• Component 2: Strengthening capacity for cross-sectoral coordination, planning, budgeting and implementation of NbS at national and provincial levels to restore ecosystems, conserve and enhance blue carbon stock with biodiversity, environmental and social conservation co-benefits.

• Component 3: Mobilize participation and investments of private sector and local communities in demonstrating NbS to restore ecosystems, enhance ‘blue carbon’ stock in coastal ecosystems in two target provinces.

• Component 4: Monitoring & evaluation, communication, and knowledge management.


Maya Hoffman on the deck of a sailboat at sunrise, smiling, in her element

Student Name:  Maya Hoffman

Sailors for the Sea

Sustainability best practices for offshore sailors

Location: Working remotely and at sea with team in Newport, Rhode Island, USA

June 8th – August 24th, 2023

Maya will be working with Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana to develop and test sustainability best practices for offshore sailors, including racers, delivery crews, and cruisers. She will be speaking with sailors to determine effective and realistic sustainability practices that will be achievable for sailors, regardless of boat differences, offshore conditions, and port capabilities. She will help sailors test these practices on the water to ultimately develop an official guidance document for boaters everywhere.

Maya is an accomplished sailor herself, check out her “Skippers Corner” blog on the Sailors for the Sea website: https://www.sailorsforthesea.org/blog/skippers-corner-team-leading-change


Libby Mohn, smiling brightly, with winter sunlight on her face

Student Name: Isabel (Libby) Mohn

High Seas Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)

Marine Protected Areas on the High Seas

Location: Working remotely with in-person meetings in Gland, Switzerland

June 12th – August 11th, 2023

Libby Mohn will be working with the IUCN WCPA’s High Seas Specialist Group (HSSG) this summer to write a report on high seas marine protected areas (MPAs). The purpose of this report will be to aggregate lessons learned from big ocean MPA managers to inform the future establishment of MPAs in the high seas. To complete this, Libby will interview experts in the field regarding three specific case study areas: the Ross Sea MPA in Antarctic waters, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and the Papahānaumokuākea MPA off the coast of Hawaii. Ultimately, the report will focus on the implementation stage of large-scale MPAs (LSMPAs) to help the IUCN WCPA roll out support for MPAs in the high seas and ensure their effectiveness in these large spaces lacking logical governance structures.



Diego Tabilo, standing and smiling brightly at a podium lectern, which bears the word "Fulbright" and the Fulbright logo

Student Name:  Diego Tabilo

Oceans Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA)

Financing healthy oceans and sustainable economies

Location: Working remotely from Chile with in-person meeting in Poole, UK

June 15th – September 15th, 2023

A resilient, Net-Zero, and economically secure world is not possible without a healthy, regenerating ocean. However, one of the planet’s greatest assets is in crisis. Because immediate and scaled action is needed to build resilience to change, the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) , a multi-stakeholder platform working in ocean finance, aims to drive at least USD$500 million of investment into coastal and ocean nature, positively impacting the resilience of at least 250 million climate vulnerable people in coastal areas around the world. ORRAA is actively engaged in the development and scaling of tools and initiatives that fill this gap.

As part of his Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) Fellowship, Diego will work on two initiatives: 1) the implementation phase of the High-Quality Blue Carbon Principles (HQBCP); and 2) ORRAA’s engagement with the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) to develop a risk management and disclosure framework for organizations to report and act on nature-related risks. Diego will work closely with the ORRAA secretariat as well as with a team of consultants, hired by ORRAA, to move forward the HQBCP implementation as well as building a community of practice and early adopters. During his fellowship, Diego will also get the opportunity to support and work with the newly built Innovation and Scaling program under which these two areas of work will be connected to under the current ORRAA strategy.



Past CBE Summer Fellows & Current Fellows Blogs-Read their stories in their own words

To see more of the work accomplished by CBE Summer Fellows, please visit our CBE Summer Fellows Blog where the students describe their experiences.  You’ll see a link there for Past Summer Fellows with posts back to our cohort of 2015.  Show here is Kimberly Aiken, CBE summer fellow in 2019 during her fellowship with the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) at the German Arctic office: “”Goodbye for now! Auf Wiedersehen. Next stop Norway!”  


Our Partners:  CBE Summer Fellows Host Organizations

The Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellowships prepare students for careers that have an immediate positive impact on ocean and coastal sustainability. Below is our list of partner organizations that host CBE Summer Fellows.  Research and deliverables produced by the students during these fellowships is sometimes published by the organizations or the CBE.

Year Partner Organization  
2023 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  
2023 MarViva  
2023 Sailors for the Sea  
2023 Oceans Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA)  
2011-23 IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)  
2011–23 Wild Aid  
2011–23 World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  
2011-23 Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)  
2011-23 Conservation International  
2012 Jane Goodall Institute  
2012 Tobacco Caye Marine Station  
2012–23 World Resources Institute  
2012-13 Fish Wise  
2012-18 One Reef  
2012-15 United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  
2013-23 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  
2013 Driscoll’s  
2013 KAI Marine Services  
2013 Ocean Recovery Alliance  
2013–21 Oceana  
2013 Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program  
2013-17 Save the Waves  
2013-18 National University of Galway, Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit  
2013-17 Maersk Drilling and Shipping  
2014 Eco Viva  
2014–16 Environmental Justice Foundation  
2014 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD  
2014–18 The Nature Conservancy  
2014-16 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Programme of Action  
2014-23 National Ocean Economics Program  
2015–16 Both Company  
2015–23 California Coastal Commission (CCC)  
2015–16 Root Solutions/Marine Mammal Center  
2016 Pelagic Data Systems  
2017–18 Think Beyond Plastics  
2018-23 The Nature Conservancy  
2018 E2E Foundation  
2018-23 Business for Social Responsibility  
2018-23 Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust  
2019 Alfred Wegener Institute, German Arctic Office  
2019 Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve  
2020-23 Ocean Protection Council  
2020-23 Seafood Solutions  
2020-23 Surfrider  
2021-23 Inland Ocean Coalition  
2021 NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency  
2021 Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center  
2021 Anthropocene Institute’s Protected Seas  
2021 Pacific Ocean Energy Trust  
2021 Humboldt County - Planning and Building Department