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image from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.

Andrew Wynne is a graduate student in Environmental Studies at the University of Charleston, South Carolina and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. He served in the Philippines (2012-2014) as a Coastal Resource Management Advisor, and hopes to continue to educate and inspire others to create healthy coastal environments. A SCUBA diver and former college athlete, Andrew lives an active lifestyle fueled by travel and exploration, but never strays too far from the water.


An island archipelago nation laying in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is commonly known for its idyllic beaches, rugged volcanic interior, routine natural disasters, and amicable people. But perhaps less known is the battle against solid waste that is currently enveloping the country. I spent two and a half years on the front lines of this battle as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and can attest to what a study published just last week in the respected journal Science found; the Philippines, along with a small number of other developing countries, is a major vector for plastics and other debris flowing into the global ocean.

With the vast majority of the population and economy tied to the coastline, managing solid waste is exasperating already stressed resources and forcing individuals into economically inefficient ways of making a living that strain the coastal environment. In addition, the Philippines’ location in the western Pacific Ocean likely leads to the transportation of waste around the globe, thereby affecting everyone from local barangays to American coastal cities.

The fundamental issue is how to solve this large and growing problem on land, and in doing so, protect the ocean from the harm that debris causes. The Philippine government has adopted a number of laws needed to help mitigate solid waste.  The problem is these laws and product bans don’t work well if community members don’t understand the consequences of their actions or know why these policies were designed. This lack of awareness about solid waste and its effects on local waterways and the ocean is ultimately crippling the Philippines’ national process to confront the problem. To stem it nationwide, a concerted effort is needed from the ground-up, one that actively involves community members in the discussion.

I recently returned from Tabaco City, Albay, a port city in Southern Luzon facing the Pacific, where I was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer working on coastal resource management. After seeking input from local leaders and experts, I worked with Bicol University Tabaco Campus (BUTC) and Dean Plutomeo Nieves to develop and launch the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program.

Begun in January 2014, this three-year program has been using a participatory, community-based approach to address solid waste management, improve river water and habitat sustainability, and thereby protect our ocean. Local students and youth representatives are both the facilitators and target audience; the program seeks to empower them to initiate action, repair existing degradation, and be leaders in sustaining their local ecosystems for future generations.

Thus far, 36 BUTC students have facilitated a community needs assessment amongst almost 300 local households. The students interviewed residents and sought information related to solid waste management practices, community involvement, and river usage. River water quality testing and cleanup events are ongoing, and future program activities will include educational campaigns to inform and educate the community and the establishment of a Bantay Ilog, or “river watch team.”  With this groundwork in place, the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program hopes to facilitate the co-management efforts needed for future urban river sustainability and solid waste management in Tabaco City.

With proactive national and provincial policies, local awareness and activism, and financial resources to build a foundation of leadership, we can take the next step in stemming the flow of debris in the rivers and coastal environment of the Philippines.  This will be one small step in solving the global problem of plastics pollution in the ocean identified last week in Science. While it is troubling that the scientists found that the Philippines is a major source of ocean trash, efforts such as the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program can be a model for how other local communities can contribute to a global effort to protect the oceans from the threat of land-based debris.


Andrew’s original post for Ocean Currents can be accessed here.


under: Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, News, Travel

Graduate Education Week 2015!

Posted by: powellbh | February 16, 2015 | No Comment |

The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina is excited to present a week of informational sessions about various aspects of graduate education here at the College of Charleston.  Throughout the week, we will be hosting a variety of events that all highlight aspects of graduate education. We hope that you can join us in our week-long celebration of graduate education!

Today, we kick off the week’s festivities with Graduate School Boot Camp today (Monday, 2/16) at 5:00 pm in the Stern Center Room 205.

Check out the schedule of other events lined up for this week:

MONDAY, 2/16
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Graduate School Office Open House, Randolph Hall Suite 310
We welcome students, faculty, and staff to drop by the office of the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C. Get to know our graduate students and meet the office staff. Light refreshments served.

5-7 p.m. Graduate School Boot Camp, Stern Center, Room 205
UCSC Graduate School representatives Cicely McCray, Director of Recruitment, Marketing, and Communications, and Susan Hallatt, Director of Admissions, will lead this workshop for prospective graduate students. They will highlight the ways students can succeed in graduate-level academic programs as well as answer your questions about how to get into graduate school.

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Tour of Simons and Cato Centers for the Arts
Join us for a tour of the facilities in the Simons Center for the Arts and the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts. The tour begins in the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and will continue through the gallery and arts buildings. Prior to the tour, students, faculty, and staff will meet with directors Karen Chandler (Arts Management), Jo Ann Ewalt, (Public Administration), and Laura Turner (Performing Arts) to hear about each of their respective graduate programs and to answer questions. The tour will be given by Nancy Cooper, an MPA candidate and Graduate Assistant in Arts Management.  

9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tour of facilities at Grice Marine Lab, DNR Marine Resources Institute and Federal Hollings Marine Lab. Vans will take participants to/from Fort Johnson on James Island
Dave Owens, Associate Dean and professor of Biology, will lead a tour of the student resources at Grice Lab, Federal Hollings Marine Lab, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Resources Research Institute. Lunch provided.

Noon-1:30 p.m. Fulbright Faculty Information Session, Stern Center, Room 409
Stephen Litvin, professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, will lead a talk with faculty interested in pursuing Fulbright scholarship opportunities. Most recently, Litvin has been appointed a Fulbright Ambassador.

2-4 p.m. Managing your Online Presence & Building a Professional Digital Portfolio with WordPress, Addlestone Library, Room 122
In this hands-on workshop we will explore WordPress.com, a free blogging platform for building your personal web presence that integrates with common social media applications that support multimedia web publishing. You will have the opportunity to develop your own personal digital portfolio basic framework and structure using WordPress with the help of Joey van Arnhem, Instructional Design Librarian, and feedback from other students. You will also be provided with information on creating and managing your professional online presence.  Computers will be provided for the workshop, however if you have a laptop please feel free to bring it.  If you are using your personal laptop, you will need to configure it for campus wireless prior to the session (for more information on campus wireless setup visit http://wireless.cofc.edu).

4-5:30 p.m. Graduate School: Tips for Graduate School and the Working Professional, Addlestone Library, Room 227
You’ve been a newly minted graduate student for few months and wonder where all your time went? If this sounds like your experience, join Melissa Thomas, Director of the Center for Student Learning, for discussion about time management and stress buster tips for first-year graduate students.

5:30-6:30 p.m. MBA Information Session, Tate Center, Room 207
Join Jim Kindley, MBA Program Director, and Penny McKeever, Associate Director of Graduate Programs, to learn more about the MBA offerings at the University of Charleston, South Carolina. Visit http://sb.cofc.edu/academics/graduate/mba/ for information.

12-1 p.m. Resume Workshop: Operation Employment, Career Center, Lightsey Center, Room 216
Does your resume need some updating? Let us help! At this workshop you will increase your understanding of how your resume and cover letter are used in the job search process and make sure they target your career goals. Learn how to compose a resume that reflects your greatest strengths and talents and explore different resume formats. By the end of this workshop your resume will say, “Interview me!”

3-4 p.m. Graduate Information Session, Multicultural Center (next to Addlestone Library), 207 Calhoun Street, Multicultural Center Conference Room
Want to learn more about the graduate degrees, certificates, application process and student life offered at the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina? The information session consists of a presentation and a campus tour conducted by current graduate students.

4-5:15 p.m. Making Study Abroad WORK for You, Stern Center, Room 201
Interactive workshop — Learn how your study abroad experience can be incorporated into your resume, highlighted in an interview, and showcased in graduate school applications. Register with the Center for International Education through Appointment Manager on MyCharleston. Presented by the Center for International Education and the Career Center.

12-1 p.m. Diversity Discussion: Social Identities & Diversity, Stern Center, Room 205
Kristi Brian, Director of Diversity Education and Training, will lead this discussion. This session allow you to explore the dimensions of diversity and inclusion most relevant to your field of study. Through interactive exercises, it will address biases, micro-aggressions and inclusive empathy. The intent is for you to learn something new about yourself and your peers, and take away a fresh perspective on how you can foster meaningful diversity through your work.

4-6 p.m. Graduate Research Poster Session, Stern Center Ballroom (4th floor)
This is the 9th annual Poster Session and will feature 37 graduate students representing 12 programs and showcasing their research.

FRIDAY, 2/20
Noon-3 p.m. Graduate School Advisory Board Meeting, Stern Center Room 409 A/B
Spring meeting for members of the Advisory Board to the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.

5:30-7 p.m. Dinner with the Graduate Dean, Tate Center, Room 202
By invitation only. Free dinner for graduate students. A great opportunity to network with other graduate students, graduate program directors, staff, alumni, and the Advisory Board to the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.!

under: Academics, Charleston, Diversity, Events, Graduate Programs, Networking, News, Professional Development, Tips on Applying to Grad School

Azikiwe Chandler ’14 recently began teaching at Veritas Preparatory Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Veritas Preparatory Charter School opened in August 2012 with Grade 5 and adds one grade with each successive year. To learn more about the mission and educational philosophy of Veritas prep, visit their website.

From Azikiwe Chandler: Greetings from frigid and snowy Western Massachusetts, College of Charleston Family! I started teaching at Veritas Prep public charter school this week, and I still feel like it’s a great fit for me. It’s a Title I school serving the socioeconomic status (SES) demographic with which I most want to work. Their mission is to “prepare students in grades 5 through 8 to compete, achieve, and succeed in high school, college, and beyond.” Each classroom is named after a college or university, instead of referred to by a number. Teachers address their students according to the college or university they’re “attending.” So next year, for example, I will address my class, “College of Charleston scholars.” The school is decked out with banners from numerous colleges and universities in the halls and cafeteria, and each classroom is decorated with banners, flags, posters, photos and other paraphernalia representing the college for which it is named. Sadly, while Harvard, Columbia and Smith are well represented, the College of Charleston can’t be found anywhere in the building. Of course, I want the College of Charleston to be represented to the utmost in the school and in my classroom. For additional information about Azikiwe Chandler’s journey in the classroom. Follow his blog at www.AzikiweChandler.com “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.” – El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)





under: Education, Elementary Education, Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, News

This Thursday, February 5, the Office of Institutional Diversity will be hosting a presentation by South Carolina Representative Bakari Sellers in celebration of  2015 Black History Month. Representative Sellers will present “How far have we come and where do we go from here?: A Journey to excellence….” at 5:00 pm in the Stern Center Ballroom. This event is free and open to the public.

In 2006, at the age 22, Sellers was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, making him the youngest black elected official in United States history. In addition to his impressive political career, Representative Sellers is a dedicated champion of civil rights, equality, education, and faith in the state and beyond. Representative Sellers was also recently recognized by TIME Magazine as one of “40 Under 40″ rising stars in American politics.

We welcome Representative Bakari Sellers as our 2015 Black History Month keynote speaker and look forward to his address!


For questions, contact the Office of Institutional Diversity at 843.953.5079 or visit their website.

under: Charleston, Diversity, Events, News

The University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston and the Université de Versailles – Saint Quentin have an exchange program which affords a unique opportunity for graduate students to teach and conduct independent research at a university in the southwest suburbs of Paris.  Established in 1994 by Dr. Olejniczak of the History department, the Graduate School has sent nearly 20 College of Charleston students to France with great success. We recently checked in with the 2014-2015 fellow, Margaret Edling, to hear about her experience after her first semester. Margaret is a student in the History program and the 2013-2014 Graduate Student Association President. 


Hey y’all!  My name is Margaret Edling and I am the 2014-2015 Versailles Fellow currently living in Paris.  I am one of four English teaching assistants at the University of Versailles, Saint Quentin; two of the teaching assistants come from universities in the UK and the other comes from Clark University in Massachusetts.  The four of us teach all of the English conversation classes and help the students with their fluency.  Most of my students are quite proficient in English and have a great attitude which makes teaching them enjoyable.

Since the conversation classes are split between the four of us I have a lot of time to explore Paris and work on my thesis.  My thesis topic focuses on Joseph Glanvill and his perceptions of witchcraft in England, and I am currently planning a trip to visit the Royal Society in London to do research at their archives. I am excited about being able to do this archival research because it would not have been possible from Charleston.

This experience has been exciting and has allowed me to experience the French culture first hand.  I was in Paris when the Charlie Hebdo and grocery stores attacks occurred and it was interesting to see the French reaction.  The Sunday after the attacks over a million people gathered in Paris to march and show their support; so many people participated that the French government made the metro free to accommodate the masses.  And although I have seen an increase in security at some public places, for the most part everyone has continued to go about the city without fear.  Daily life has not changed and it is nice to see people coming together in support rather than torn apart by this terrible event.  Overall I have enjoyed my first few months in Paris and am looking forward to what the next semester holds!

paris 2

We are currently accepting applications for the Versailles Program for the 2015-2016 academic year. Visit the Versailles Program page of our website for eligibility information and requirements.

Applications are due February 1, 2015. 

under: Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, News, Travel

The first meeting of the Graduate Students of Color Association (GSCA) will be held this Friday! Come out and learn more about the Graduate Students of Color Association

What is GSCA?
The Graduate Students of Color Association seeks to build and sustain a supportive community for graduate students of color that contributes to their academic development, social growth, and well-being. We are committed to increasing the enrollment, retention, and success of people of color at the graduate student level, as well as at all levels of the university.

Where: Multicultural Student Center Conference Room (located on the corner of Pitt and Calhoun Streets, adjacent to Addlestone Library)

When: Friday, January 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Questions? Email Ciera Gordon@ [email protected] or Cicely McCray, [email protected]

All students are welcome to attend!


under: Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate Student Association

New Year, New Professional Development Opportunities!

Posted by: powellbh | January 14, 2015 | No Comment |

With the new year comes a multitude of resolutions, and our new year’s resolution here at the Graduate School is to provide a semester full of professional development opportunities specifically tailored for graduate students! We’ve teamed up with Addlestone Library and the Center for Student Learning to offer an even bigger variety of workshops for 2015. The workshops will address the unique needs of graduate students and will explore topics that will provide current students with valuable knowledge and strategies to maximize their degree or certificate in the future. Here are just a few of the events that we have lined up for the semester (star denotes that the event is part of Graduate Education Week):

Finding the Motivation to Write                                                      

Date: Thursday, January 29, 2015

Time: Noon-1pm

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Facilitator: Melissa Thomas, Center for Student Learning

In the workshop, participants will explore and share their current writing practices and be given practical writing and revision strategies. The latter half of the workshop will focus on developing a plan for approaching comprehensive exams or the dissertation (depending on the student’s current needs). Such a plan will help students develop goals, ask questions, and address writing strengths and limitations to successfully complete their degrees. This workshop is better suited for students who are working on their dissertations or preparing for comprehensive exams.


Copyright and Fair Use in Research and Teaching                                                      

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Date: February 4 and 5

Time: 3-4pm and noon-1

Facilitator: James Williams, Associate Dean

As more and more scholarship and teaching involves digital resources and digital communications, copyright issues have become more important, and more contentious, than ever before.  This forum will examine some of the basic principles of copyright law and discuss how they apply to research and teaching.  We will discuss the parameters of the elusive “fair use” privilege and the lawsuits against higher education institutions that it has spawned.  We will also consider the issue of intellectual property ownership for scholars and how that ownership can best be managed to serve the interests of the scholar and of the academic community in general.


Graduate School Boot Camp *                                                                                        

Date: Monday, February 16, 2015

Location: Stern Center 205

Time: 5-7pm

Facilitators: Cicely McCray and Susan Hallatt

The UCSC Graduate School Boot Camp is designed to provide prospective students (juniors and seniors) with the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to succeed in graduate-level academic programs. Boot camp sessions will dig deep into personal statements, rigor of graduate school, GRE/GMAT, social media, letters of recommendation and application processes.


Graduate School: Tips for Graduate School and the Working Professional *                   

Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Time: 4:00 pm

Facilitator: Melissa Thomas, Center for Student Learning

You’ve been a newly minted graduate student for few months and wonder where all your time went? If this sounds like your experience, join Melissa Thomas for discussion about time management and stress buster tips for first-year graduate students.


Resume Workshop: Operation Employment *                                              

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Location: Career Center

Time: noon-1pm

Facilitator: Linda Robinson

Description: Coming Soon


Digital Humanities and Careers                                                                                               

Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Time: 3-4pm

Facilitator: Brad Blankenmeyer ’14

Description: While the digital humanities (DH) are not a quick fix for humanities scholars looking for careers beyond the tenure track, DH does offer methods to help scholars bridge academic and public interests, ultimately making them more marketable for a wide range of career paths. This workshop will discuss the different areas of DH and showcase methods for using DH to build competencies to broaden career paths. This workshop is designed for graduate students in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and other fields with an interest in DH methods and scholarship, such as Education, Communications, and Computer Science.

Literature Reviews: Unveiling the Mysterious                                                           

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Time: Noon-1pm

Facilitator: Melissa Thomas, Center for Student Learning

Description: Coming Soon


In addition to these targeted workshops, the Center for Student Learning and Addlestone Library will be hosting Study Skills Workshops and a Digital Scholarship Series this semester. All Study Skills Workshops will be held on Mondays at 4:00 pm and the Digital Scholarship events will be on Thursdays at 3:00 pm. All events will be in Addlestone Library Room 120. Click the link below to check out the calendar of events and for more details or visit the Center for Student Learning’s website!

Study Skills Workshops & Digital Scholarship Series Spring 2015 Schedule


under: Academics, Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Jobs & Careers, Professional Development

Back-to-Graduate School Beatitudes

Posted by: McCrayCC | January 5, 2015 | No Comment |

Happy New Year!  The start of a new year may inspire you to make resolutions: attend this conference, finish that paper, and make progress toward graduation. Although it may not impose the same kind of deadlines as your academic work, your professional development deserves some space on your list of resolutions, too. Make time and set goals to stay on track.As we start a new year, here are a few back to graduate school beatitudes.

  • Be patient with yourself.
    • Be patient with your own process of intellectual growth. You will get there and it will all come together. You aren’t supposed to know everything at the beginning of graduate school. And you still won’t know everything at the end (of coursework, exams, the dissertation, life…).
    • Getting the actual degree isn’t about intellect. It is about sheer strength of will and dogged determination. “ I’m gonna walk out of here with that piece of paper if it’s the last cottonpickin’ thing I do.” That kind of thinking helps you to keep going after you’ve just been asked to revise a chapter for the third time, your committee member has failed to submit a letter of rec on time, and you feel like blowing something or someone up.
    • You have not because you ask not. You have to be willing to ask for what you need. You deserve transparency about the rules and procedures of your program, cordial treatment from faculty, staff and students, and a program that prepares you not only for the rigors of grad school but also for the job market (should you desire a career in academia). But folks won’t hand it to you on a silver platter. You have to build relationships, ask questions, and make demands.
    • Figure out your writing process (the place [home, coffee shop, library], time [morning, afternoon, night], and conditions [background noise, total silence, cooler or warmer] under which you work best and try to create those conditions as frequently as possible during finals, qualifying exams, and dissertation 
  • Be kind to yourself.
    • Reward yourself frequently. Most of us need positive affirmation of a job well done, but for long stretches, especially during exams, dissertation, and the job market, the rewards elude us; and often given the time crunch, once we conquer the mountain, there is little time to enjoy the view before it’s time to trudge back down and start climbing the next one. All that hard work in high stakes conditions for anti-climactic ends can take a toll on your psyche. So be kind to yourself. Figure out the things you really like and make sure to enjoy them as much as is possible and healthy.
  • Be proactive about self-care.
    • Figure out your non-negotiables. For me, sleep is non-negotiable. I must have it. I don’t do all nighters. I also generally don’t do weekends, so I adjust my schedule accordingly. What are your non-negotiables?
    • Cultivate a spirit-affirming practice. Grad school is a mind-body-spirit endeavor. So meditate, pray, exercise, do yoga, go to church, cook a good healthy meal. Do whatever you need to do to keep your mind, body, and spirit in balance.
  • Be a friend/comrade to others and let them do the same for you.
    • Build community with colleagues inside or outside your department.
    • Build community with non-students/non-academics. You need folks who live life outside the dungeon. They will affirm you and help you keep things in perspective.
  • Be better not bitter.
    • Fail forward. Being the overachievers that we are, we tend not to deal with failure well. It tends to become an indicator to us of our intelligence, worth, and competence. But failure is a part of the process. Unless you are incredibly, exceptionally lucky, you will hit a snag in a course, while writing the proposal, on the dissertation, submitting a journal article or submitting a book. Two tips: take the time to process, particularly for big issues like proposals, dissertation chapters or books. Cry, scream (not at your committee or editor), go to a kickboxing class. And then dust yourself off and try again.
  • Be tight. Bring your A-game. Come to class prepared and ready. Keep a calendar of important due dates. Always be open to learn new ideas.
  • Be a light. As you make your way, show the graduate students behind you how it’s done, so maybe they won’t have as many dark days as you’ve had.

Happy 2015! Make it your best year ever! Always believe in yourself!

under: Uncategorized

Happy Holidays from the Graduate School!

Posted by: powellbh | December 15, 2014 | No Comment |


Well, graduate students, you MADE it! On behalf of the Graduate School, congratulations on another semester well done. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and hope that everyone enjoys a much deserved break. The new year is just around the corner, so make sure you mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

January 7- Graduate Student Spring Orientation, 5:30pm, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor Randolph Hall

January 12- First day of spring semester classes

January 19- No classes (MLK Day observed)

January 20- Last day to drop/add spring semester classes

January 21 @ 7:30pm- College of Charleston’s men’s basketball game vs. the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina and the School of Business will host guest in the President’s Box at TD Arena that night.

February 14- Last day to drop/add spring semester classes

February 16-20- Graduate Education Week (our 2nd annual event). This week will feature a variety of events geared to students, staff, faculty, alumni and the community, such as Grice Marine Lab tours and networking opportunities.

February 19 @ 4pm- Stern Center Ballroom – The 9th annual Graduate Student Research Poster Session which highlights the research projects of students in our master’s programs.

February 20 @ Noon- Meeting for the Advisory Board to the The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.

February 25- College of Charleston Day at the Capital in Columbia, S.C. – The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C., will showcase its offerings at this all-day event held in the lobby of State House.

Have a SAFE and HAPPY holiday season students, faculty, and staff! We will see you in 2015!


under: Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Holiday


Lisa Vandiver, Ph.D., graduated from the College of Charleston’s MSc Environmental Studies program and now works at NOAA’s Restoration Center in Charleston. Originally from Athens, Georgia, Lisa moved to Charleston in 1997 to pursue a BSc in Marine Biology. After working at Kiawah Resort as a naturalist as an  undergraduate, Lisa enrolled in the Environmental Studies program at the College specializing in stormwater management and the effects of stormwater on tidal creek ecosystems.   After she completed her Masters, Lisa attended the University of South Carolina earning her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences. Upon graduation, she was immediately accepted into the Knauss Fellowship program in Washington D.C.

At NOAA , Lisa works with the Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP) and the Community-based Restoration Program (CRP). Through DARRP, Lisa helps restores coastal and marine habitats and resources to compensate for the natural resource injuries incurred from oil spills and hazardous waste sites. Currently, Lisa and her team are planning for restoration for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the hazardous waste site in Brunswick, Georgia. Through CRP, she coordinates with local communities, territorial agencies, and federal partners to reduce land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) to coral and seagrass habitats in the Caribbean.

“This is definitely the most rewarding part of my career, not only because it is nice to work in the Caribbean, but because I am able to see major changes in pollutant loads and human behavior as a result of our work.” Lisa attributes some of the skills she uses in her job to her graduate school experience at the College of Charleston. “College of Charleston provides a unique interdisciplinary experience that truly provides you the skills needed to succeed in a profession as a natural resource manager.  We were required to attend Charleston County Council meetings and evaluate local environmental management issues. These experiences taught me lessons about the complexity of environmental management and the importance of the human dimension. The understanding and ability to work with others towards a common goal is key to the success of any career. My graduate career at the College of Charleston was integral in fostering and developing these skills.”

Words of Advice to Graduate Students
Network, network, network! Now-a-days many people go on to pursue their graduate degrees, so it is not the ‘foot in the door’ that it used to be. Once you graduate, you can almost guarantee that for every job you apply to you will be competing against another Master’s degree or even a Ph.D.  The primary thing that can give you an edge over your competition is your network. It is likely that you have already begun developing your network without even knowing it.  The marine science world is surprisingly small and Fort Johnson is filled with well-known and respected scientists and soon your friends will become your colleagues. Graduate school is a great time to expand your network which will help you get your foot in the door when you need it.

Your graduate career is your opportunity to explore new ideas and opportunities. Take advantage of this time!  If you have an opportunity to work on a research cruise or you have a chance to study abroad or you simply have a chance to help a friend out in the field, GO, you will be surprised how it will open up a whole new world of ideas and opportunities. Worst case scenario you would have added one more person to your network.

under: Environmental Studies, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, Networking, News

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