| by Eva Gudbergsdottir

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CBE Summer Fellows
Twelve Middlebury Institute students are currently working with top marine organizations around the world as Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) Summer Fellows. (Credit: Elena Zhukova )

Twelve Middlebury Institute students in the International Environmental Policy degree program are currently working with top marine organizations around the world as Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) Summer Fellows.

Building on their studies, (most fellows are in the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management specialization), CBE Summer Fellows work on projects directly connected to their career goals, and this year students are working on issues ranging from plastic pollution to coral reef conservation to deep sea mining policy. With support from generous donors, the internships and projects are full-funded. Some have traveled as far as Micronesia, Bali, or Colombia, while others have chosen assignments closer by such as the Monterey Bay or San Francisco. Here are the 2018 CBE Fellows:

Karl Larsen MAIEP/MBA ’18, Eliana Olais MPA ’19, and Saba Ijadi MAIEP ‘17 are working with the Think Beyond Plastics’ Mesoamerican Reef Project. The project is in its second year and has three tracks: outreach and education, policy development, and business engagement. Olais is excited about this opportunity for professional development in her chosen field and says that, “no other organization approaches the problem of plastic pollution in a more progressive, holistic way.”

Jillian Acker MAIEP ’19 will spend her summer in Bali, Indonesia working with OneReef to develop economic models for coral reef conservation in Indonesia. Andrew McIntire MAIEP ’19 will also be working with OneReef but in Pohnpei, the Federated States of Micronesia. He will be evaluating the effectiveness of the conservation enforcement officer program and providing training and advice to officers, working in conjunction with conservation enforcement officers, observing their actions and making recommendations for program improvements. McIntire will also be helping to set up standard operating procedures for enforcement actions based on enforcement laws and penalties in Pohnpei.

Their classmate Samuel Blakesley MAIEP ’19 is working on helping to protect and restore a degraded mangrove forest in Rincon del Mar, Colombia by using carbon monitoring data to secure carbon offset funds for a small fishing village where fishing is in decline.

Kyle Burnett MAIEP ‘19 is in Ireland, working with the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) and Dr. Stephen Hynes at the National University of Ireland (NUI) in Galway (also, NUIG). “Our goal is to more completely understand the relationship between habitats and their ecosystem services in the marine environment and how these seafloor resources can be valued,” Burnett shares. “Together, with research from the EU ATLAS project, we will be synthesizing our findings. I will be a research assistant here to write, work with GIS, and lend aid in research for this project. In August, our team will submit a multi-authored report for consideration.”

Bryce Bray MAIEP ’18 will be working on marine management in the Coral Triangle in the western Pacific Ocean, stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. He will be researched the role that effective fisheries management has or can have in achieving objectives for food security, income security, poverty alleviation/avoidance, and the overall well-being of coastal communities.

Nico DeGolia MAIEP ’19 will be splitting his fellowship working with two organizations, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and WildAid. For IUCN, DeGolia will be working on Deep Sea Mining Policy with the Fiji government. For WildAid in San Francisco, he will work closely with the Marine Program Officer, to improve and automate donor communications and develop a corporate sponsorship program for the marine team. These tasks will be focused on generating user metrics, implementing a donor engagement funnel, and launching a corporate sponsorship program for Nexus Blue.

Andrea Fisher art
Andrea Fisher MAIEP ‘19 is blending art and policy as part of her summer fellowship.

Andrea Fisher MAIEP ’19 and Oliviya Wyse MAIEP ’19 will be based in Monterey. Working for NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, Fisher will be traveling to the five west coast National Marine Sanctuaries to conduct research regarding ‘sense of place,’ or how people connect to each sanctuary. Based on the conversations she has with various stakeholders, she will produce an art piece for each site, visualizing her findings. Wyse is working with the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust (MBFT). Her project is to define traceability goals and needs for Monterey Bay fisheries and participants of the MBFT and develop recommendations for  programs that could meet MBFT needs.

Additionally, she will support the Lost Gear Recovery program, a project that helps local fishermen recover crab pots to reduce entanglement risk to whales and other marine life. She will be collecting and storing gear, writing reports summarizing the project expansion and related challenges, and providing recommendations for future steps.

The Center for the Blue Economy supports students for other projects and programs throughout the year on a case-by-case basis. The following students received an “honorary fellows” grant this year.

Carlos-Henri Ferré MAIEP ’19 is a researcher and associate producer for Carbon Kitchen, a docu-series focusing on the heroes engaged in regenerative agriculture and the chefs preparing beautiful, tasty food. The series focuses on the journey from the soil or the sea to the plate, engaging experts (farmers, fisherman, academics, politicians, butchers and chefs) along the way to tell the story. The episode Carlos-Henri is currently working on is about kelp and will focus on Bren Smith’s groundbreaking work with GreenWave to create 3D ocean farms, integrating sugar kelp with bivalves. It will also explore how chefs make tasty creations from something that is truly sustainable and can help save our oceans.

Working as a Resilience Fellow for the Mayor’s Office of Anchorage, Alexandra Long MAIEP ’18 provides support on a wide array of resilience-related work. This includes helping to develop a resilience strategy for the municipality and creating a website that informs the public on resilience work in Anchorage and provides a platform for engagement. Long worked with the core planning committee for Alaska’s first Resilience Summit, which took place on April 25th, 2018. For her International Professional Service Semester project, she is laying the groundwork for a Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Anchorage by leveraging the climate research community at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is also a key member of the team coordinating the development of Anchorage’s Climate Action Plan.

To follow the CBE Summer Fellows this summer, check out their blog on sites.miis.edu.

For More Information

Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir