College of Science

Environmental Science MS

Pathway to Success: Graduate Students Secure Fellowships with California Sea Grant

April 26, 2019

The Department of Applied Environmental Science (AES) has been home to an in-house graduate program since 2006. Originally debuted as Coastal and Watershed Science and Policy (CWSP), the program changed names in 2013 to Applied Marine and Watershed Science (AMWS). Now known as Environmental Science (ENSCI), this program has prepared numerous graduate alumni for success in the California Sea Grant State Fellows Program.

California Sea Grant’s State Fellows program supplies graduate students with a unique educational experience in marine resources, policy, and management. Each year, this program matches qualified graduate students with host sites in municipal, state, and federal agencies across California. Students spend 12 months in paid positions at these sites, expanding on the knowledge they gained in graduate school and strengthening their professional skillsets.

Eight graduates have gone onto to pursue a Sea Grant Fellowship across the state, including two that are just beginning their journey. We recently caught up with three alumnae of the program, to learn more about their experiences as Sea Grant Fellows.

Flower Moye – CWSP Alumna, Thesis

What was your role as a Sea Grant Fellow?

As a Sea Grant Fellow I divided my fellowship between the California State Controller's Office and the California State Lands Commission (CSLC). I focused on developing a state-wide strategy for California's blue economy and marine spatial planning efforts in a partnership with the CSLC and the Port of San Diego.

How did your experience as a graduate student contribute to your current career pathway?

Courses like Research Methods (ENVS 550 posed awesome challenges and reminded me that I can always find the answer if I look hard enough, think critically, and ask the right question.

As a budding marine scientist, there's no better place to be than the Monterey Bay. So many prestigious schools and tons of other motivated students make for a great learning environment.

Carrie Boyle – AMWS Alumna, PSM

What was your role as a Sea Grant Fellow?

I worked in the Coastal Conservancy's Climate Ready program, which seeks to help local governments and NGOs along the coast prepare for the impacts of climate change. My main responsibility was to manage a $3.8 million Climate Ready grant round, which funds projects that use nature-based solutions to adapt to climate impacts such as sea level rise and urban heat. I also coordinated the Conservancy's climate change committee and the California Coastal Resilience Network.

How did your experience as a graduate student contribute to your current career pathway?

The AMWS program set me up for a career in the interface between coastal and marine science, policy, and management. It provided me with a strong understanding of not only marine science but also the ways in which that science can be applied to policy and management.

Amanda Canepa – AMWS Alumna, PSM

What was your role as a Sea Grant Fellow?

I recently finished up my Sea Grant Fellowship at the Delta Stewardship Council in Sacramento, where I spent the past year communicating Delta science to decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public, as well as facilitated communication and collaboration between Delta scientists and managers. My greatest achievement during my fellowship was to establish a highly collaborative, interorganizational group that works together towards more effective and efficient use of remote sensing in the Delta region.

How did your experience as a graduate student contribute to your current career pathway?

My experience as a graduate student was instrumental in shaping my current career pathway. I developed a love for environmental policy during the AMWS program and realized that science isn't effective unless it is communicated to the right people. This, of course, is what led me to apply for a California Sea Grant Fellowship in the first place, which in turn has led me to extraordinary growth and put me on the career pathway I've always dreamed of. I'm happy to be able to report that I've accepted a position in Monterey as an Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Region.

To learn more about the work they completed during their fellowships, check out their blogs on the Sea Grant website below: