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Gulf Research Program  >   fellowships  >   Science Policy  >  
 Current and Past Science Policy Fellows

Our Science Policy Fellows gain first-hand experience at the intersection of science and policy as they spend one year on the staff of federal, state, local, or non-governmental environmental, natural resource, oil and gas, and public health agencies in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Jump to our Science Policy Fellows from:
 2018


spf_2018_cockrell Marcy Cockrell
Host Office: ´╗┐Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

´╗┐Tallahassee, FL


Dr. Cockrell holds a Ph.D. in marine resource assessment from the University of South Florida (USF) and an M.S. in marine science from Northeastern University. Her dissertation work used fisheries-dependent datasets and novel statistical modeling to understand the response and resilience of commercial reef fishermen to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and recent management changes in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Cockrell has gained experience in science communication and policy through a variety of forums, including participation in organized Congressional visits to Capitol Hill, leading a science communication workshop, and working as a science mentor for three years with USF’s Oceanography Camp for Girls. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Cockrell worked as a research technician at Brown University, where she conducted extensive field work to investigate the ecology of urbanized estuaries.
spf_2018_culver Michelle Culver
Host Office:
Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program
Gulfport, MS

Ms. Culver graduated from Baylor University with a B.S. in environmental science and earned an M.S. in coastal and marine system science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her thesis research explored the relationship between beach geomorphology characteristics and Kemp’s ridley nesting habits along Padre Island, Texas. While in graduate school, Ms. Culver served as Project Manager for the Harte of the Gulf Film Competition, an outreach event with the mission of engaging the Gulf of Mexico community through education and film. Prior to her fellowship, she was a coastal geoscientist in the Coastal and Marine Geospatial Lab of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, where she participated in a project relating to coastal resiliency.
spf_2018_ernst Kathleen Ernst
Host Office:
NOAA RESTORE Science Program
Stennis, MS

Dr. Ernst holds a Ph.D. in environment and climate sciences and an M.S. in geography with a minor in environmental policy from the University of Tennessee, as well as a Bachelor’s in geography and sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on resilience and adaptation planning in urban, energy, and water systems and on public lands. Specifically, she studies the creation and use of information for adaptation and resilience decision-making, evaluates the types of adaptation and resilience actions that are taken, and studies ways to identify and act upon opportunities that create co-benefits and synergies across sectors rather than negative consequences or tradeoffs. Kathleen has conducted research at the Urban Dynamics and Climate Change Sciences Institutes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; at the Stockholm Environment Institute in Stockholm, Sweden; and most recently in Norrköping, Sweden as a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Scholar.
spf_2018_keating Kathryn Keating
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA

Ms. Keating is a Ph.D. student in sociology at Louisiana State University (LSU). Her research focuses on healthcare, mental health, and disaster resilience. She is also interested in data collection methods for social science research. Ms. Keating holds a B.A. in sociology and a Bachelor of Social Work from Indiana University, a Master of Social Work from Portland State University, and will complete a MA in sociology from LSU in August 2018. Most recently, she worked as study coordinator for the Resilient Children, Youth and Communities (RCYC) Project, a partnership between LSU and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. The RCYC project utilizes a longitudinal, mixed-methods approach to understanding resilience outcomes for Louisiana children, families, and communities following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Keating is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Louisiana with a clinical background in integrated behavioral health and work with rural communities.
spf_2018_oyenuga Christianah Oyenuga
Host Office:
Harris County Public Health
Houston, TX


Ms. Oyenuga, a native of Nigeria, is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science with a concentration in environmental policy and risk management at Florida A&M University School of the Environment. Her research explores smallholder farmers’ approaches to adopting climate-smart agricultural practices and the decision-support tools smallholders will need in order to contend with increasing climate variability. Ms. Oyenuga previously worked at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, where she measured and reported citywide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. More recently, she piloted a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory and customized a framework for sustainability reporting at American Tire Distributors as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow. Ms. Oyenuga holds a B.S. in chemistry from Texas Tech University and an M.S. in chemistry from Florida A&M University. She studies climate change mitigation and adaptation processes and policies that advance renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, and climate justice.
spf_2018_robinson Elizabeth Robinson
Host Office:
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Robinson earned a B.S. in biology from Centenary College of Louisiana, a M.S. in biology from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, and a Ph.D. in oceanography and coastal sciences from Louisiana State University. Prior to graduate school, she interned at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) working on a project involving hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Her dissertation research focused on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on mollusk and crustacean populations, behaviors, and predator-prey interactions. She was recognized as a Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Scholar for her contributions to understanding the effects of the oil spill. Her general research interests include coastal ecology, benthic ecology, and aquatic toxicology. In her free time, she communicates science through art using color pencil and ink media. Her passion in art and science aided the development of LUMCON’s Coastal Art and Science Camp for high school students.
spf_2018_servais Shelby Servais
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fairhope, AL


Dr. Shelby Servais holds a Ph.D. in biology from Florida International University and earned her B.S. in environmental science from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Dr. Servais’ dissertation, conducted in the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research Network, investigated how changing environmental conditions affect soil microbes. She worked in the Florida Everglades and tested how saltwater intrusion alters how soil microbes process carbon and nutrients. Dr. Servais is also enthusiastic about science outreach and was a Science Communication Fellow at the Frost Museum of Science while completing her graduate program.
spf_2018_smith Kelcee Smith
Host Office:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Austin, TX

Ms. Smith is currently a Ph.D. student at Louisiana State University, where she studies genetic and population dynamics of the federally endangered smalltooth sawfish. She has worked with smalltooth sawfish since 2009 as both an intern and fisheries biologist for NOAA Fisheries. She received her Bachelor’s degree in marine biology with minors in chemistry and mass communication from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. Her experience working with endangered species and communicating complicated science to the public has led to her interest in science policy. Upon completing her degree at LSU, Ms. Smith plans to work as a liaison between scientists and policy makers to ensure effective and efficient use of resources affecting imperiled species recovery. Ms. Smith is a founding member of the LSU Women in Science organization, where she works to bring together female graduate students, faculty, and staff across disciplines.
spf_2018_vu Huy Vu
Host Office:
The Water Institute of the Gulf
Baton Rouge, LA


Dr. Vu obtained his undergraduate degrees in biology and political science and doctoral degree in biology at the University of Houston. His research explored how organisms and ecological systems respond to global changes, focusing on the reciprocal feedbacks between crabs and headward eroding creeks along the southeastern Atlantic Coast. Mr. Vu has also placed strong emphasis on public outreach and education. As part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research program, he has mentored more than 25 K-12 teachers and 15 high school and undergraduate students. In 2015, he was selected to represent the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and gave a TED-style talk at the University of Houston Graduate Research and Scholarship Project Day.
spf_2018_wilson Benjamin Wilson
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lafayette, LA


Dr. Wilson holds a Ph.D. in ecology from Florida International University (FIU) and an M.S. in marine biology from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of Alabama. His research has focused on how coastal wetlands respond to environmental stressors in a changing climate, specifically how sea level rise and saltwater intrusion will affect plant and soil communities. Dr. Wilson has received many awards for his research, including Best Dissertation by the FIU College of Arts, Sciences, and Education; the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant; the FIU Dissertation Year Fellowship; and the Ecological Society of America’s Braun Award for Best Student Poster. Dr. Wilson also strives to communicate the importance of coastal ecosystems, and the threat climate change poses to them, beyond an academic audience. As a Science Communication Fellow with the Frost Science Museum in Miami, Florida, he has participated in countless outreach events around the Miami community.

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 2017


sp-2017-bernik Brittany Bernik 
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA


Dr. Bernik holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Tulane University, and earned her B.S. in environmental biology as a Newcomb Scholar. Her dissertation research focused on the ecosystem consequences of genetic variation in salt marsh grasses. This work revealed that heritable differences in a common grass species can affect salt marsh erosion and nutrient cycling. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, her research contributed to the cleanup response and helped develop new guidelines for marsh remediation and restoration approaches. More recently, as a postdoctoral scholar at Tulane’s ByWater Institute, Dr. Bernik has been examining plant-microbe dynamics in petroleum-contaminated marshes as well as the socioecological responses of urban vegetation following Hurricane Katrina.
sp-2017-blomberg Brittany Blomberg
Host Office:
Texas General Land Office
Austin, TX

Dr. Blomberg holds a Ph.D. in coastal and marine system science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she was named Outstanding Doctoral Student in 2015. Her dissertation research, conducted at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, focused on the ecology and restoration of oyster reef systems. Prior to entering graduate school, she attended The University of Tampa, then Purdue University to earn her B.S. in biology. Prior to becoming a GRP Science Policy Fellow, Dr. Blomberg was a postdoctoral scholar at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab where her research included synthesizing ecological and socio-economic data resulting from the implementation of a dozen living shoreline projects in coastal Alabama over the past decade.
sp-2017-durham Stephen Durham 
Host Office:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Tallahassee, FL

Dr. Durham graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in biology and earned his Ph.D. in paleontology with a minor in conservation biology from Cornell University. While at Cornell, Dr. Durham worked on several projects applying the data and techniques of paleontology to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. Specific projects included surveying restoration professionals for their perspectives on geohistorical and long-term data, investigating the application of benthic index metrics to mollusk assemblages, and studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on oyster body sizes in Louisiana. His dissertation research focused on comparing the lifespans of fossil oysters that lived during a warmer time in the past—a potential analog for future warming—with those of modern oysters.
sp-2017-frometa Janessy Frometa
Host Office:
NOAA Restore Science Program
Stennis, MS

Ms. Frometa earned an M.S. in marine biology from the College of Charleston and a B.S. in biology from the University of Florida. Prior to her fellowship, she worked as a biologist at NOAA’s Deep Coral Ecology Laboratory examining the health of deep sea coral ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. As part of this work, she assisted in the damage assessment following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Previously, Ms. Frometa worked as a research technician at the U.S. Geological Survey Benthic Ecology Laboratory, where she examined the infaunal community structure of hard-bottom and chemosynthetic seep habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. Ms. Frometa has spent over 100 days at sea in the Gulf of Mexico and Southern California as part of numerous research expeditions surveying deep sea habitats.
sp-2017-jankowski Krista Jankowski
Host Office:
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
Baton Rouge, LA


Ms. Jankowski is a Ph.D. candidate in earth and environmental sciences at Tulane University, where she focuses on wetland responses to environmental change on annual to millennial timescales. Ms. Jankowski earned a master's degree in climate and society from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in geology and political science from Macalester College. She has conducted field work in areas ranging from Glacier National Park in Montana to Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania with a sustained focus on human impacts on natural environments and climate. Previously, Ms. Jankowski worked as a technical advisor for the Red Cross Climate Centre, where she helped integrate climate information into disaster risk reduction preparedness in Thailand and Kyrgyzstan.
sp-2017-jennings Meredith Jennings
Host Office:
Harris County Public Health
Houston, TX

Dr. Jennings holds a B.A. in chemistry from Hendrix College in Conway, AR, and a Ph.D. in marine and atmospheric chemistry from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. Her graduate research focused on the biogeochemistry of carbon and nutrients in the ocean. Specifically, she used an analytical chemistry approach to investigate the environmental controls of marine dissolved organic carbon concentration, a massive reservoir of organic carbon in the ocean that is comparable in size to atmospheric carbon dioxide. She participated in several oceanographic research expeditions to understand the fate of organic carbon in the Antarctic Ross Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, and the western North Atlantic Ocean.
sp-2017-lee Philip Lee 
Host Office:
Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program
Gulfport, MS


Mr. Lee is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alabama where he studies the relationships between abiotic parameters, soil microbial communities, and nitrogen enzyme activity in wetland soils. He also investigates the spatial and temporal patterns in coastal wetland soil microbial communities and their role in nitrogen cycling. Prior to graduate school, he interned with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources working on a project involving wetland delineation. Mr. Lee received a B.S. in secondary education with an emphasis in biology from the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and an M.S. in freshwater microbiology from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His master’s thesis examined the effects of invasive Quagga mussel on benthic microbial communities in Lake Michigan.
sp-2017-mansfield Laura Mansfield 
Host Office:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico Region
New Orleans, LA

Ms. Mansfield received a B.A. from Hampshire College with a self-designed concentration on the political economy of petro-states. She received an M.A. in international affairs with a focus on energy policy and international security studies from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her master’s thesis explored the relationship between oil and self-determination movements through case studies on Greenland and Iraq. After graduation, Ms. Mansfield was a research consultant for the Natural Resource Governance Institute and evaluated hydrocarbon governance in the Gulf of Mexico for the Resource Governance Index. She most recently worked in the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management on Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Programs developing a Tribal Protocol Manual and learning about nuclear waste cleanup as a summer intern.
sp-2017-reeves David Reeves 
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lafayette, LA


Mr. Reeves is a Ph.D. candidate in oceanography and coastal sciences at Louisiana State University (LSU). He holds an M.S. in oceanography and coastal sciences from LSU and a B.S. in biological sciences from Loyola University New Orleans. Mr. Reeves is broadly interested in fisheries ecology, restoration, endangered species management, and the interconnectedness of human and natural systems in the Gulf of Mexico. His graduate research focuses on evaluating the ecological value of oil and gas platforms as habitat for reef-associated organisms. He is proud to be a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast and spends his free time absorbing the region’s cultural and natural beauty.

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 2016


Butler  Debra Butler
Host Office:
Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program
Gulfport, MS


Ms. Butler is a native of the Gulf coast, a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts Boston College of Management, and a fellow in the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship on Coasts and Communities. Her research focuses on organizational responses to climate change, particularly processes of socio-political hybridization, community resilience capacity, and environmental migration/diaspora. At the Brandeis International Business School, Ms. Butler was awarded fellowships that supported research on hybrid entrepreneurship models in Havana, Cuba, and sustainable wealth creation in rural communities through best practices for cooperative farming and forestry in southwest Alabama. Ms. Butler also holds an Ed.M. and certificate in leadership education (Harvard) and an MBA and certificate in ethics from Spring Hill College.
Charles Makyba Charles-Ayinde
Host Office:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Gainesville, FL


Dr. Charles-Ayinde was born in Trinidad and received her Ph.D. in public health from the University of Florida. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in biology at Florida A&M University and Purdue University, respectively. Dr. Charles-Ayinde’s graduate research assessed seafood safety following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Her research discerned seafood consumption patterns of residents of coastal communities along the northern Gulf of Mexico. This enabled her to identify highly vulnerable subpopulations that can be targeted in the event of an environmental disaster that impacts Gulf resources. In addition, she assisted in the creation of a model that determined the distribution of risk to these coastal populations from consuming seafood in the wake of the oil spill.

Dorans Kirsten Dorans
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA


Dr. Dorans completed her undergraduate degree in bio-organic chemistry at McGill University. In the year following, she completed science communication and policy internships at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the American Chemical Society, and Nature Medicine. She subsequently worked as an assistant editor at a Nature Publishing Group journal. Dr. Dorans then returned to school at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to receive a Sc.D. in epidemiology. As a doctoral student, she studied the association of outdoor air pollution exposure with atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in arteries. Dr. Dorans is interested in better understanding the link between the environment and human health, communicating scientific findings to the public, and helping to develop public policies that are rooted in sound science.
Kolic Paulina Kolic
Host Office:
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Kolic obtained her B.S. in chemistry from California State University Channel Islands. During her undergraduate career, she participated in summer research programs with the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Shortly thereafter, she began her graduate studies at Louisiana State University, where she received her Ph.D. Dr. Kolic’s dissertation work involved the improvement of solar conversion efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells through optimization of photosensitizing dyes. Dr. Kolic has actively participated in environmental research in Louisiana including studies on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Mississippi River flood events. She is widely interested in conservation and restoration as well as the role that government and policy play in these endeavors.
Mickle Alejandra Mickle
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fairhope, AL

Ms. Mickle received her B.S. in biology from Florida State University. As an undergraduate, she interned and later became a lab technician at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, where she worked on projects related to the faunal communities of the Big Bend seagrass meadows. Ms. Mickle spent the next few years as technician for several labs, assisting on projects related to the feeding ecology of coastal bony fish and sharks, independent fisheries monitoring, mercury bioaccumulation, deep sea sediment geochemistry, and the potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep sea communities. Ms. Mickle received her M.Sc. in Biological Oceanography at Florida State University, where she studied the trophic ecology and bioaccumulation of mercury in deep sea hagfishes from the Gulf of Mexico.
Pree Krystal Pree
Host Office:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Tallahassee, FL


Ms. Pree is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of the Environment at Florida A&M University, where she is investigating the risk to recreational fishers and harvesters in Lee County, FL, from exposure to red tides. Ms. Pree holds an M.S. degree in environmental science from Baylor University in Waco, TX, where she investigated the use of bioassay-based reference doses in a human health risk assessment for those exposed to polybrominated diphenyl ethers through fish consumption. She received a B.S. in fisheries biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Outside of academia, Ms. Pree has interned with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the United States Geological Survey, and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Roest Geoffrey Roest
Host Office:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico Region
New Orleans, LA

Mr. Roest is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station. His research focuses on measuring and quantifying emissions from unconventional oil and gas operations in the Eagle Ford Shale in southern Texas, as well as the climate and air quality impacts associated with those emissions. He has a B.S. in meteorology from Plymouth State University and an M.S. in geosciences from San Francisco State University, where he won a distinguished achievement award. He worked as an intern meteorologist at Sonoma Technology, Inc., where he forecasted air quality and gained experience in atmospheric chemistry research.
Saum Lindsey Saum
Host Office:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Austin, TX

Dr. Saum received a B.A. in microbiology and genetics from Ohio Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in environmental microbiology from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). As an undergraduate, she studied the inhibition of human viral pathogen replication by amino acids and proteins. During graduate school, Dr. Saum turned her focus to the environment and studied communities of oil-degrading bacteria found in beach sediment contaminated by oil still lingering from the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Dr. Saum’s career goals include building public education programs and events to promote awareness of environmental protection and conservation, and contributing to the creation of more stringent pollution regulations to preserve natural resources.
Sharuga Stephanie Sharuga
Host Office:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lafayette, LA


Dr. Sharuga received a Ph.D. in oceanography and coastal sciences from Louisiana State University, where she studied and developed approaches for evaluating deep-sea benthic megafaunal communities in the northern Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She also holds an M.S. in environmental management and sustainability from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. in biology and earth and ocean sciences from the University of Victoria in Canada. Dr. Sharuga’s past research has included ecology-focused projects studying wetlands and marine communities, along with work in marine and coastal policy and management. She has also been actively involved as both a ship and shore-based scientist for multiple oceanographic cruises.
Young Caitlin Young
Host Office:
NOAA RESTORE Science Program
Stennis, MS

Dr. Young completed her Ph.D. in geosciences at Stony Brook University. She holds an M.S. from Stony Brook University and a B.S. from Tulane University. Her dissertation research investigated transport and biogeochemical processing of nutrients in coastal aquifers, with a focus on how groundwater-sourced anthropogenic nitrogen impacts coastal water quality. After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Young accepted a post-doctoral position at the University of Florida. That research investigated how salt water intrusion will impact biogeochemical processing in coastal aquifers. Understanding how salt water intrusion will affect potable water quality in coastal aquifers is critical in the Gulf of Mexico, as sea level rise continues unabated leaving coastal populations vulnerable to contaminated drinking water.

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 2015


2015 Policy Del Angel_cropped Diana Del Angel
Host Office:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Tallahassee, FL


Ms. Del Angel received a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Texas at Brownsville and an M.S. from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. As an undergraduate, she mapped coastal and riparian vegetation along the Rio Grande River and participated in numerous estuarine and dune restoration events. To pursue her interest in coastal environments, Ms. Del Angel focused her graduate studies on coastal and estuarine processes. Her thesis research analyzed beach and dune dynamics on South Padre Island, Texas. Before her science policy fellowship, she was a coastal geoscientist in the Coastal and Marine Geospatial Lab of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, where she participated in projects relating to coastal hazards and hurricane impacts and in stakeholder-driven coastal assessments and planning initiatives for Texas.
2015 Policy Gomez_cropped Elizabeth Gomez
Host Office:
NOAA RESTORE Science Program
Stennis, MS

Ms. Gomez studied marine ecology as an undergraduate, spending time in different laboratories on the East Coast and graduating from Brown University with a B.S. in biology. Subsequently, she spent two years working in an environmental consulting firm in Baltimore, MD, where she gained broad experience in the environmental field while working with multiple clients and agencies. Ms. Gomez received her M.S. in marine science at Stony Brook University, where she used a model to understand impacts of oyster restoration on fish communities. She was selected as a graduate fellow to present at “A Community on Ecosystem Services 2014,” where she learned about the use of ecosystem services in policymaking and restoration.
2015 Policy Henkel_cropped Jessica Henkel
Host Office:
RESTORE Council
New Orleans, LA


Dr. Henkel received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane University. She holds an M.S. in biology from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. in English from Stony Brook University. Her dissertation research investigated how environmental changes and habitat degradation are impacting the coastal habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and the effects these changes are having on bird populations that migrate through them. Living and conducting research on the northern Gulf of Mexico, Jessica has witnessed first-hand the many challenges facing the region. Her research experience has strengthened her belief that healthy coastal communities require healthy coastal ecosystems. She hopes her future work will support the development of management strategies that minimize the negative impacts of human decision-making and policies on coastal ecosystems.
2015 Policy Ren_cropped Cholena Ren
Host Office:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico Region
New Orleans, LA


Ms. Ren is a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Louisiana State University (LSU) and an alumna of the University of West Florida. She is passionate and committed to making significant contributions to research in chemistry and environmental sciences. Her undergraduate research included polymer syntheses that could be used in future cancer treatments, as well as evaluating levels of dibenzo-p-dioxin in an industrial chemical. She continued her education at LSU, working towards her Ph.D. in chemistry at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Center. For her dissertation research, she studies particulates generated from combustion processes. The goal of her research is to understand the chemistry of particulate matter as a function of environmental variables.

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