The Middlebury Institute was once again well represented when California Sea Grant Fellowship winners were recently announced, with three Institute representatives among the twenty-one recipients for 2016. The fellowships are awarded annually to highly qualified graduate students and recent graduates to obtain on-the-job experience at a host agency in California involved with marine policy, environmental quality, and resource management. “This is definitely one of the premiere fellowship and professional development opportunities available to students and alumni of our ocean and coastal resource management tracks,” says Career and Academic Advisor Edy Rhodes.
Maren Farnum MAIEP ’15 will be working with the Environmental Planning and Management Division of the State Lands Commission. As a student in the International Environmental Policy program, Farnum worked as a research associate and data analyst at the Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy (CBE), where she authored a report on sea level rise adaptation strategies and implementation for local coastal governments. At the State Lands Commission, Farnum will assist with projects related to climate change planning for coastal state lands, likely with a focus on ports and harbors.
Jessica Morten MAIEP ’15 has been awarded a fellowship position with NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. During her time at the Institute, Morten worked as a conservation assistant at Ocean Champions and she was awarded a CBE Summer Fellowship working with the Environmental Defense Fund. As a State Fellow at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Morten will work within the Resource Protection Department to reduce the threat of ship strikes to endangered whales and enhance sanctuary enforcement using new mapping tools that allow for more adaptive management.
Melis Okter MAIEP ’16 will spend her last semester of graduate school working at the California Coastal Commission, combining the first six months of her yearlong Sea Grant Fellowship with the Institute’s International Professional Service Semester program (IPSS). Like Morten, Okter was a CBE Summer Fellow; her paid internship placement was with NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries. At the Coastal Commission, Okter will be involved in a broad range of coastal and ocean issues, focusing on climate change and local coastal program planning work.