Graduate school is fertile ground for people with open minds. Julia Townsend (MAIEP ’09) specialized in ocean and coastal resource management issues as part of her master’s degree program in International Environmental Policy, but decided to take advantage of a weekend workshop on Behavior Change in Public Health during her studies at the Institute. That workshop sparked a connection that has led to her current career path applying behavioral science approaches to solve complex environmental problems.
In her last semester at MIIS, Julia worked as a research assistant at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Protected Areas (NOAA) Center, and turned that into a full-time position as a policy analyst post-graduation. During her four years at NOAA, she was involved with ocean planning, helping draft the National Ocean Policy, creating a Common Language of Ocean Uses (along with MIIS professor and NOAA senior scientist Charles Wahle), researching ocean use conflicts to inform regional planning efforts, and facilitating participatory ocean use mapping sessions.
This April, Julia founded Enviro-Strategy, a consulting firm focused on strategic communications, community mobilization, and behavior change in support of creating more sustainable communities. She recently completed a needs assessment in support of informal climate educators for the Institute at Golden Gate (Parks: The New Climate Classroom) and has worked with Strategic Earth Consulting and the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments on outreach and communications efforts to promote marine conservation and energy efficiency. She is very passionate about this next chapter in her career and looks forward to connecting with others in the Monterey Institute community.
Julia has an undergraduate degree in French from Emory University in Atlanta, and received the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Scholarship for Peace to study Arabic at the Middlebury Summer Language Program while at MIIS. She is one of two appointed U.S. National Park Service Global Ambassadors at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) World Parks Congress, which will be held in Sydney, Australia in November 2014.