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An internationally recognized hub of ocean research and advocacy, Monterey Bay is also known for one of the nation’s most spectacular marine protected areas, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This fertile environment is an inspiration to all students at the Monterey Institute, but perhaps most pertinent to those who are enrolled in the International Environmental Policy program’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management concentration.

Building on their studies in Monterey, students are eligible for fully funded summer fellowships with top marine organizations through the Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy. This summer, ten students are working on projects directly related to their career goals ranging from fishery policies to surfonomics to global marine litter issues. Some have traveled as far as Denmark, Kenya or Micronesia, while others have picked assignments closer by. We checked in with several of the fellows for a mid-summer report.

Working with the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Ocean Research team in San Francisco has been “amazing,” says Jessica Ann Morten (MAIEP ’15). She is working with the team on several ongoing fisheries policy projects but taking the lead on putting together a research paper on EDF’s global fishery management strategy.

Her classmate Trent Hodges (MAIEP ’15) has been working with the Save the Waves Coalition in Baja, Mexico, collaborating with community members, surfers and conservationists to envision and plan for a “future with healthy waves and a robust local economy.” Part of his work is to build capacity and develop a surfonomics research plan to capture the economic value of surfing. A highlight of his time in Baja was participating in the dedication of the Bahia Todos Santos Surfing Reserve with a paddle out of international and local surfers.

Also in Mexico is Sara Pfeifer (MAIEP ’15) who is working with Nature Conservancy on a cost-benefit analysis for development on the Costa Maya coast of Quintana Roo. Her fieldwork included a month-long journey along the coastline of southeastern Mexico.

Not too far away is Jordan Sanchez who is working with EcoViva in El Salvador on local fishing cooperatives.

Matt Nichols (MAIEP ’14) started the summer in Norway learning about the Norwegian Model for natural resource management and policy but has now moved across the Skagerak strait to Denmark where he will start his internship with Maersk Drilling.

Mairi Miller (MAIEP ’15) has spent the summer working on the Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone where she has been helping bolster efforts to combat illegal fishing through community engagement. Also in Africa is Kelsey Richardson who is working on issues related to global marine litter for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). She says it is “a bit ironic to be here on a CBE fellowship and totally landlocked in Nairobi, but the nature of the work is exactly what brought me to MIIS, and I am continually challenged and learning more with every day.”

For more information about the CBE Fellowships and a complete listing of fellows, visit the CBE webpage.

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir