M.S. STUDENTS

||M.S. STUDENTS
M.S. STUDENTS 2022-07-01T13:27:04-07:00

Faculty Advisors:
Mark Carr
Elena Finkbeiner

Partner Organization:
Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI)

Niza Contreras

San Francisco, California

Niza is passionate about studying community-based fisheries management, particularly in Latin America, with a focus on using traditional conservation practices to develop adaptive solutions to the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems. She is bilingual in Spanish and English with dual US-Mexican citizenship. Niza hopes to bring both a transdisciplinary and a transnational perspective to these complex socio-ecological systems, with the recognition that climate change is breaking barriers and forcing us to reimagine our conventional divisions and definitions. Niza graduated from Stanford University as an Earth Systems major in 2020 with a focus on Oceans, Climate, and Atmosphere.

Read about Niza's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

For my capstone project for the Coastal Science and Policy M.S. program, I plan to strengthen knowledge around climate adaptation strategy implementation in artisanal fisheries in México by documenting and sharing current strategies used by fishing cooperatives in Baja California Sur. Additionally, I aim to understand what social and ecological characteristics of the fishing cooperatives enable or constrain them from successfully implementing adaptation strategies. I plan to develop a knowledge-sharing platform that can be used by fisheries managers and decision-makers to see what strategies for climate problems have worked for other communities, why these strategies were successful in this community, and how they might be able to improve the adaptive capacity of their own community to successfully implement the same strategies.

I will work with the Mexican organization Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI) and ten cooperatives that are part of the federation FEDECOOP to conduct focus groups with fisheries managers, fishers, and community members. These focus groups will investigate the past, present, and future adaptation strategies that the cooperatives have developed in response to the different impacts of climate change they experience within their fisheries. I will work with COBI to share information on the strategies that I collect in a way that it can be easily accessed and understood by members of fishing cooperatives. The first step will be to include the data on COBI’s PescaData app, which serves as an information-sharing and social media platform for fishers and the fishing community in México. The second step will be to identify (or create) another platform where I can share more detailed information about different adaptation strategies in an informative and usable way.

Faculty Advisors:

Anne Kapuscinski
Jeremy West

Partner Organization:

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA)

Craig Dudenhoeffer

Santa Cruz, California

Craig is extremely passionate about supporting entrepreneurs that use scalable technologies to positively impact ocean health. He is influenced by an early career realization that as one scientist he might only make an incremental impact, but if he helped entrepreneurs develop and apply scalable new technologies, he could bring about exponential positive change.

Currently, he is the Chief Innovation Officer at Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) and the Co-founder of the Ocean Solutions Accelerator (the first accelerator program created to support ocean tech entrepreneurs and their startup companies). Craig also co-founded a Venture Capital fund in 2019 called SOA Seabird Ventures that invests in “Seed” to “Series A” ocean impact startups.

Craig brings experience to the CSP program from working in both tech and for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Including supporting the launch of the world’s first Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator program in San Francisco for ReadWrite where he worked closely with 115 early-stage frontier technology startups from a variety of industries and functioned as a key liaison between these startups and ReadWrite’s investor network. He also received his Bachelors from UCSC in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Read about Craig's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

For his capstone project, Craig is working with Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) to build an online tool that ocean impact startups can use to clearly track, measure, and report their impact to funders and other interested parties. The impact tracking tool focuses on key impact areas such as Blue Foods, Blue Carbon, Ocean Pollution, Habitat Restoration & Preservation. Craig is collaborating with ocean impact entrepreneurs, funders, and leading ocean scientists to design a tool that will improve communication and alignment for those seeking to build and support ocean impact solutions. With Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) severely underfunded, Craig hopes his tool will create more transparency for ocean impact projects while also ensuring that the most impactful projects receive funding. The tool has the potential to increase funding for SDG14 solutions and will ultimately help to improve ocean impact outcomes.

Faculty Co-Advisors:
Elena Finkbeiner
Katherine Seto

Partner Organization:

National Institute of Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP)
Aquamarina.

Daniela Font

Buenos Aires, Argentina

From a young age, Daniela has been interested in biodiversity conservation. Daniela graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) with a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and an emphasis on Aquatic Biology. For six years, she studied the genetic status of the largest cat in the Americas, the jaguar, for conservation purposes as an assistant researcher at the Argentinean Museum of Natural History. Her close collaboration with local government authorities and NGOs, allowed her to connect scientific research with policy and local action.Daniela is excited to apply her knowledge of working to save the endangered jaguar to addressing marine turtle bycatch in small-scale, artisanal fisheries in collaboration with coastal Argentinian communities for her capstone project. Through the Coastal Science and Policy program, Daniela’s goal is to protect marine turtles by studying their interaction with local fisheries through an integrative approach that includes the study of the socio-economic context. She wants to make a difference in the way endangered populations are managed, fostering their coexistence with sustainable local economies.

Read about Dani's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

For her capstone project, she is working on the conservation of sea turtles from the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean. In particular, she is trying to understand and address the incidental capture of three species of sea turtles by the artisanal fishers from the Buenos Aires coast. She will analyze data on bycatch rates and their past spatial and temporal variation, and also enrich these data with fishing community participatory research and field interviews. Her goal is to co-develop with fishers, a conservation program to reduce bycatch and work together towards sustainable fishing practices.

Faculty Co-Advisors:

Marm Kilpatrick
Don Croll

Partner Organization:

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute
Office of the Prime Minister of Belize (Beverly Wade)
Wildlife Conservation Society

Jamal Galves

Belize

Jamal has been committed to manatee conservation in Belize from an early age. He was first inspired to pursue this path whilst working with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, where he is currently a Program Coordinator and Research Biologist. Jamal has received many awards and commendations for his work with manatees, including a 2018 National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellowship, an Oceana Ocean Hero award, a Belize National Hero Award, and a World Wildlife Fund Planet Hero award among others. In addition, Jamal was featured in a Disney Earth Day video. Jamal is a proud recipient of the 2021  Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Christensen Conservation Leaders Scholarship, provided by the WCS Graduate Scholarship Program. Jamal has also published about his research, including research on manatee strandings in Belize in Oryx (Analysis of a long-term dataset of Antillean manatee strandings in Belize: implications for conservation).

Read about Jamal's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

To ameliorate threats to the endangered Antillean manatees of Belize, I will utilize manatees as a flagship species to promote coastal conservation through a combination of scientific research, governmental and stakeholder engagement, community involvement and public education.

Faculty Advisors:
Anne Kapuscinski

Partner Organization:
South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)

Trevor Kumec

Washington & Santa Cruz, California

Trevor is passionate about river system management and salmonid conservation and he has participated in steelhead and salmon monitoring projects across the Pacific Northwest. Working with the Washington National Park Service, Trevor was exposed to river management’s complex and sometimes conflicting social, environmental, and economic dimensions. As a Repass-Rodgers Fellow with the CSP program, he will explore these themes while restoring salmon populations in the Sacramento River.

Read about Trevor's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone


He will be working with the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) to advocate for native fish populations in the Yuba River. SYRCL works to support healthy populations of salmon, steelhead, and other native species in the river by restoring degraded habitat and increasing connectivity in the river. I plan to use an interdisciplinary approach to engage communities, restore habitat, and guarantee sustainable returns of anadromous fish for future generations.

Faculty Advisors:
Andrew Fisher

Partner Organization:
The Nature Conservancy

Karlee Liddy

Newton, New Jersey

After graduating from the University of South Carolina with an Environmental Science B.S., Karlee volunteered with Peace Corps, Nicaragua as an Environmental Educator. She worked with salmonids as a Watershed Stewards Program member and now monitors salmonid populations in the Carmel River with NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service and UCSC. As a CSP graduate student, Karlee will improve policies to protect and restore Central Valley salmonids as a Repass-Rodgers Fellow.

Read about Karlee's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

For her capstone project, Karlee will be seeking to understand and characterize expanded protections for federally-listed salmonids under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Including:

      • Assessing to what degree Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) address“depletions of interconnected surface waters”
      • Identifying challenges and incentives for improving protections for salmonids in GSPs through semi-structured interviews
      • Co-producing a policy analysis to expand requirements for GSAs to address impacts to salmonids

Faculty Co-Advisors:
Mark Carr
Elena Finkbeiner
Larry Crowder (External Science Advisor)

Partner Organization:
BlueFins

Xiaohui “Ivy” Lin

Shenzhen, China

Xiaohui (Ivy) Lin is the co-founder of BlueFins, a Chinese ocean conservation organization and leads the Citizen Nature Challenge Competition and Ocean Explorer Plan, which promote citizen science conservation methods. Ivy has used her public relations undergraduate background to produce and direct ‘Searching for the Coral Paradise’, a documentary about coral conservation. She also monitors corals with a team in China. As a CSP student, Ivy will explore community conservation methods that balance sustainability and cultural preservation. Ivy is also a 2021 Blue Pioneer in the Blue Pioneer Accelerator program.

Read about Ivy's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

For her capstone, Ivy aims to increase divers’ participation in marine biodiversity conservation in Shenzhen City, Guangdong province, China. She will do this by increasing dive shops’/divers’ awareness and participation in ocean conservation, enhancing multi stakeholders’ understanding of Shenzhen marine biodiversity via analyzing the distribution of dive shops, and divers’ opinions on conservation, and conducting a marine biodiversity information collecting workshop based on divers’ interests.

Faculty Advisors:

Katherine Seto

Dan Brumbaugh (Science Advisor)

Partner Organization:

Kevin Lunzalu

Busia, Kenya

Kevin Lunzalu is very passionate about transformative biodiversity governance, fostering youth-led practical solutions to pressing conservation challenges, and intergenerational equity. This interest first developed while completing his Bachelor’s in Wildlife Conservation and Enterprise Management at Egerton University. 

He is the co-founder and national coordinator of the Kenyan Youth Biodiversity Network, one of Kenya’s largest youth-led conservation organizations by membership, building the capacity of young people to address biodiversity loss through policy advocacy, ecosystem restoration, marine action, and awareness creation.

Kevin has received several recognitions for his work on biodiversity conservation, including receiving a 2022 Wildlife Conservation Network Sidney Byers Scholarship for Wildlife Conservation, being listed among the Top 100 Young Conservation Leaders in Africa 2021, Youth of the Year 2021 Award of the Youth Agenda 254, World Bank’s #Blog4Dev 2021 Winner, and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Fellowship.

Kevin was invited as a youth speaker at the Fifth United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA 5.2)  Flagship Event on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, organized by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The UNEA 5.2 saw heads of State, Ministers of Environment, and other representatives from 175 countries endorse a resolution to eliminate plastic pollution and realize an internationally legally binding treaty by 2024. He was also an invited delegate and speaker at IUCN World Conservation Congress 2021 to promote stronger youth voices in biodiversity governance. 

Read about Kevin's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

Kevin’s capstone project seeks to understand and co-design community-driven, policy-backed solutions aimed at significantly reducing the threat of marine plastics on the nesting success of endangered sea turtles in Kenya. The project will focus on Diani Beach, a globally-recognized touristic hub and travel destination that faces disproportionate impact of marine pollution. Kevin hopes to effectively apply and build on the important set of skills and knowledge acquired from the Coastal Science & Policy Program to enhance the nesting success and survival rates of sea turtle hatchlings along Diani Beach by addressing marine pollution as a key ecosystem stressor. He will work with various rights holders and authorities to realize a joint local level action plan and local policy proposal that addresses ocean-bound plastics in nesting sites where three endangered species have been documented to nest. In the longer term, the project will leverage innovative technology to enhance circularity and green job creation.

Faculty Advisors:
Elena Finkbeiner
Don Croll

Partner Organization:
The Wildlife Conservation Society – Mozambique Program

Naseeba Jamil Sidat

Maputo, Mozambique

Naseeba has a passion for nature and understands the importance of ecosystem connectedness for conservation. She started her conservation career volunteering with marine biodiversity programs in 2012 and graduated with a Marine, Aquatic and Coastal Biology degree in 2016. She joined the Wildlife Conservation Society, Mozambique as a Technical Project Team Member in 2017. She is a Wildlife Conservation Society Beinecke African Scholar and hopes to use her graduate studies to improve her leadership and communication skills to advance biodiversity conservation and management in Mozambique and worldwide.

Read about Naseeba's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

Naseeba aims to support coastal communities in adopting and using sustainable fishing practices that both ensure their continued success in fishing local waters and reduce chances of local extinction of shark populations, like the critical endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks, Sphyrna lewini. She plans to work on this type of shark because it is the most frequently caught species in Zalala Beach, is targeted by fishers (despite its Critically Endangered status) and contributes to the community’s livelihoods. Also, sharks play an important role in the marine food chain, by balancing the local marine ecosystem and supporting healthy numbers of fish that coastal communities rely on as their primary source of protein (Motivarash et al., 2020). She will also co-develop a Roadmap with fishing communities, which will include a menu of fisheries management measures, that will both reduce chances of local extinction of scalloped hammerhead shark populations and support sustainable fishing in Zalala Beach.

Faculty Advisors:
Katherine Seto

Partner Organization:
The Nature Conservancy (second year)
ARMS Restore Project (summer)

Olivia Won

Oakland, CA

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Olivia Won is a plant ecologist committed to interdisciplinary stewardship solutions for California’s coastal areas. As a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar at the University of Washington and intern with the Elwha Revegetation Project, she fell in love with the power of plants and socio-ecological restoration. Since graduating from Wesleyan University, she has worked with botanists at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on an array of watershed improvement projects, leading seed amplification and conservation projects for special status species and growing plants at the Sunol Native Plant Nursery. With her graduate studies, Olivia hopes to pair her passion for plants and people with further training in coastal climate change adaptation, biocultural restoration, and resilience planning. Olivia has been recognized as a rising leader numerous times including as a 2022 Global Sustainability Fellow and as a 2022 – 2024 Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellow. As a Global Sustainability Fellow, Olivia will conduct research in coastal Madagascar during the summer of 2022. As a Davidson Fellow she will conduct research within the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Read about Olivia's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

For her capstone, Olivia will explore avenues for advancing equity and justice considerations for multi-benefit nature-based climate adaptation efforts in coastal regions. During her second year, Olivia will partner with the Nature Conservancy to support the California  team’s work on potential future habitat conservation planning for coastal habitats threatened by sea-level rise.

During the summer, as a Global Sustainability Scholars fellow, she will work with the ARMS Restore project on interdisciplinary coral reef and seagrass restoration work in the Bay of Ranobe, Madagascar.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Healthy Fire/Anega Energies

Seblua Abebe

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As a CSP student, Seblua is excited to sharpen her analytical skills and broaden her understanding of sustainability science, especially at the interface of land-water ecosystems and application to policy. Seblua’s passion for and current work developing clean, effective cookstoves and fuel pellets is helping curb indoor air pollution, protect the environment, and uplift poor communities in Ethiopia.

Sebula currently works with Anega Energies Manufacturing (Anega) to advance new clean cookstove and fuel pellet technologies for households and institutions. The company applies principles of circular economy to reduce deforestation and resource consumption. For her capstone, Seblua will apply the skills she learns on the CSP program to help to further Anega’s work. Seblua and the team she works with at Anega have received numerous innovation awards. They are now launching a project to support more than 250,000 students through a school feeding program. Prior to joining Anega, Seblua served as an office and site civil engineer for several companies.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Eloy Aroni Sulca

Peru

Born in the Andean mountains of Ayacucho and raised in Lima, Peru, Eloy is passionate about connecting satellite monitoring technology to small-scale fisheries, in particular, using technology to improve fisheries management and empower artisanal fishers. He received his BS in Fishing Engineering from Peru’s National Agrarian University – La Molina. Prior to joining CSP, he was a fisheries analyst for Global Fishing Watch, working with Peruvian artisanal squid fishers.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Alexandra Boutros

United States

Ali Boutros is an evolving marine conservationist and steward. Ali is excited about conservation, restoration and innovative uses of micro and macro algae. After graduating from UCLA, she explored the implications of microalgae-based oils for reducing fossil fuel reliance and combating the pressing threats of climate change. As a CSP student, Ali is excited to work on a solution that will have tangible impacts for kelp conservation and restoration.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Hallie Brown

United States

Hallie is interested in creating healthy, resilient communities through connection to place, land, and food systems, particularly through supporting Indigenous food sovereignty and the conservation of wild marine foods. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, she supported a environmental projects focused on food security and sovereignty for the 10 Federally recognized Tribes of the Kodiak Archipelago. She hopes to apply her experience in Alaska to a capstone project in California.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Clint Gallaron

Philippines 

Clint Gallaron advocates for sustainable fishing and implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to coastal and marine biodiversity protection. Prior to joining CSP, he worked as a program officer for Community Centered Conservation (C3) Philippines Inc. There he led a team implementing locally managed marine protected areas; facilitated fisheries and coastal resource policies that build resilience, equity and inclusive participation; and formed local volunteer groups that championed ecosystem-based fisheries management.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Ariq Khalingga

Indonesia 

For his capstone, Ariq wants to explore how to update blue carbon contribution estimates of seagrass beds (and seagrass restoration) for Indonesia’s carbon market, which will launch in 2025. He currently works with Carbon Ethics in Indonesia and is eager to explore this capstone idea with Carbon Ethics and other partner organizations. Ariq received a Marine Science degree from Padjadjaran University.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Cindy Matuch

United States 

Cindy is passionate about applying an interdisciplinary approach to reducing plastic pollution. As a CSP student, she is excited to connect policy, research, and action to tackle this issue during her capstone year. Cindy’s interest in science grew after participating in the Monterey Bay Ocean Science Research Experience for Undergraduates program. After graduating from Orange Coast College with three A.S. degrees in Marine Science, Chemistry, and Biology, she transferred to CSUMB where she became a NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Scholar. Cindy graduated from CSUMB with a B.S. in Marine Science and a Minor in Statistics.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Angelo San Pablo

United States 

As a CSP student, Angelo is excited to advance responsible and more sustainable aquaculture practices; particularly through alternative aquafeed diets. He has held positions with Long Island Marine Monitoring Network, FOOP Organic Biosciences (a startup company in Silver Spring, Maryland ) and more recently, as a lead technician and live feeds specialist for Blue Ocean Mariculture (the first Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified finfish cultivation facility in the United States). Angelo received his B.S. in Marine Sciences from Stony Brook University.

Faculty Advisors:

Partner Organization:

Aldo Zavala Jiménez

Mexico 

Aldo is passionate about studying and protecting oceanic manta rays (Mobula birostris) that aggregates seasonally in Bahia de Banderas, Mexico. He has experience working with Proyecto Manta Pacific Mexico (an affiliate project of The Manta Trust) to study this species. In the CSP program, Aldo seeks to learn the methods to create opportunities for communities to engage in decision-making and implementation of mitigation strategies that have positive impacts for local manta populations and reinforce community feelings of belonging, responsibility, and leadership over their coastal resources.

Faculty Advisors:

Anne Kapuscinski

Elena Finkbeiner

Partner Organizations:

Green 2.0

Ocean Conservancy

Kalina Browne

Villa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines & New York, United States

Kalina Browne (she/her) is passionate about addressing Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) in the conservation field with a specific focus on nonprofits. After graduating from the CSP program, Kalina joined Anthropocene Alliance as a Program Manager. In addition, she led development of a research report, released on World Ocean’s Day, that can help guide environmental organizations toward better engagement with coastal communities of color. Browne received a paid fellowship to work on the project on behalf of Green 2.0, a national watchdog organization focused on diversity and equity in the environmental sector.

After completing her bachelors in Environmental Geoscience from the University of Buffalo in 2018, Kalina returned to her island home nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Caribbean to work with the government where she was a procurement intern where she gained insight into project management by assisting on the Regional Development Vulnerability Reduction Project funded by the World Bank.

As an islander, she has a strong interest in the effects of climate change and the intersection with justice which was her focus when she worked with Ocean Conservancy’s (OC) Climate Program as a Roger Arliner Young (RAY) fellow from the summer of 2019 to summer of 2020. During her time at OC she participated at both the state and international level. She was engaged with California’s Ocean Protection Council and had the opportunity to attend the United Nations Framework on Climate Change 25th Conference of Parties in Madrid, Spain in December 2019.

Read about Kalina's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone


Kalina will be working with the non-profit Green 2.0 on a project funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to explore the relationship between coastal communities and NGOs. As a watchdog and recordkeeper in the environmental sector, Green 2.0 seeks to better understand how NGOs are working in and with the communities they vow to support. The project will focus three geographic areas; California, Florida, and Louisiana while also conducting a more in depth analysis by engaging with six to eight NGOs as case-studies. While working with them, Kalina hopes to further her knowledge in the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) sphere while helping Green 2.0 accomplish their goals. Beginning in the fall, she will work with the Ocean Conservancy to address JEDI. She wishes to be an inspiration for other young, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in environmental and conservation fields.

Faculty Advisor:

Borja Requero (Spring/Summer)

Lindsey Dillon

Kristy Kroeker

Partner Organization:

UC Coastal Resilience and Climate Adaptation Initiative (Spring/Summer)

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Diana Fu

California, United States

As an educator, critical race scholar, and cultural worker, Diana is committed to working with low-income communities of color to address historic environmental injustices and equitably prepare for the impacts of climate change. During her capstone year, she joined the San Francisco Estuary Partnership as an Environmental Planner, where she continues to advocate for equitable and just planning processes around the bay.

Diana’s passion for environmental and climate justice began when she participated in a youth empowerment program with Rising Sun Center for Opportunity in Oakland, CA. She went on to nurture her interests in racial justice and the environment at Northwestern University, where she received her B.A.’s in Asian American Studies and Environmental Science. After completing her bachelors, she began her early career in New York City by living and working in the South Bronx as an environmental educator and citizen science coordinator. Diana later expanded her work to all five boroughs of New York City by coordinating Billion Oyster Project’s flagship educational initiative, the Oyster Research Station (ORS) program, which brought thousands of students, teachers, and community members to the New York Harbor waterfront to monitor the restoration of native Eastern Oysters.

Diana is also a playwright, essayist, and Pushcart-nominated poet interested in the use of storytelling to build inclusive environmental movements that center minority voices. In February 2021, she published her first chapbook titled “In All Spaces Liminal”. She has been the recipient of many notable scholarships and fellowships for her writing, including the 2020 Superhero Clubhouse Eco-Playwriting Fellowship, Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Poetry Fellowship for Writers of Color, and the Katharine Bakeless Nason Scholarship for her attendance at Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference. Diana is also a recipient of the 2021-2022 Switzer Fellowship.

Read about Diana's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone


For her capstone, Diana will be working with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) and the UC Climate Resilience and Adaptation Initiative (UC Climate Resilience Project) to advance  equitable climate adaptation. She will first synthesize a landscape analysis of adaptation plans put forth by cities and counties in the San Francisco Bay Area with the UC Climate Resilience Project, and then use it to inform her work at SFEP in creating an inclusive communications plan, public forums, and long-term strategic plans for facilitating collaborative dialogue with underserved and frontline communities.

Faculty Advisor:

Kristy Kroeker

Partner Organization:

Ocean Visions (Summer)
Blue Ocean Barns (Capstone)

Sarah Mastroni

California, United States

Sarah’s interest in oceans and marine biology was cultivated at an early age along the coasts of Northern California before she went to UCLA to study Marine Biology. After graduating from the CSP program, Sarah accepted a Program Officer position with Ocean Visions.

Sarah brought extensive field experience working on marine science projects in the Great Barrier reef and on NSF-funded projects of climate change on intertidal zones in Alaska when she joined CSP. She has also engaged in science education and interpretation roles in California and Alaska. She’s particularly interested in macroalgae as it relates to healthily functioning ecosystems and ocean-based communities. Hear Sarah talk about her capstone project on the podcast Santa Cruz Naturalist here or read more below.

Read about Sarah's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

In Summer 2021, Sarah joined Ocean Visions, a research consortium and network for ocean solutions, as a Fellow. Over the course of the summer, she helped create the “Ocean Solutions Expert Network”, a database that allows Ocean Visions to move against identified “grand challenges” by catalyzing connections and resources. This built on her previous work with Ocean Visions where she helped to create three interactive roadmaps for ocean-based carbon dioxide removal pathways. Sarah has continued working with Ocean Visions as a contract worker, currently keeping the Ocean Solutions Expert Network up to date and assisting with an international expert working group on sinking seaweed for carbon sequestration.

For her capstone, Sarah is working with Blue Ocean Barns, under the mentorship of CEO Joan Salwen and VP of Product Vivienne Hay. Here, she will focus on removing policy barriers and roadblocks on the path to nationwide integration of red alga Asparagopsis taxiformis in cattle feed to reduce methane emissions. Her work involves assessing the positioning of Asparagopsis in the current market and strategizing on ways to integrate Asparagopsis into existing government programs. She is excited by the opportunity to dive into climate policy and work on a project with such meaningful impacts.

Faculty Advisors:

Mark Carr

Pete Raimondi

Partner Organization:

The Nature Conservancy (capstone)

UC Irvine (summer)

Andrea Paz Lacavex

Ensenada, Mexico

As an interdisciplinary scientist, Andrea is keenly interested in strengthening management of marine areas. Following graduation from the CSP program, Andrea is furthering her capstone work by joining the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at UCSC as a PhD student.

Andrea has supported coastal ecosystem monitoring efforts in the Mexican Pacific and brings extensive experience working with multiple universities and NGOs on scientific projects in marine and terrestrial environments. In addition, Andrea has lead workshops on climate change and oceans for fishing communities in Baja California. For her capstone, Andrea wants to explore innovative techniques for restoring kelp forests and temperate reef habitats that also support resilient coastal communities. You can read about her innovative work and recent participation in the Blackstone Launchpad Pitch competition here. Andrea was selected as a Mexican representative for the UN Ocean Conference Youth and Innovation Forum where she’ll contribute to scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of SDG14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions.

Read about Andrea's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone


For her capstone, Andrea will be exploring the use of the innovative kelp restoration technique, “green gravel,” as an effective way to restore kelp forests in Baja California, Mexico. In Summer 2021, she worked with researchers at UC Irvine to learn more about the culturing and implementation of this innovative technique and in the second year as part of her capstone work, she will partner with The Nature Conservancy’s Kelp Restoration team to link similar innovative work in California to restoration in Baja California, Mexico.

Faculty Advisors:

Don Croll

Elena Finkbeiner

Partner Organization:

In Refinement

Niomi Pridina

Jakarta Selatan, Indonesia

Niomi began her career in marine conservation in 2015, while she was working at MantaWatch, a manta ray conservation organization. In this position, she designed and implemented an internship program in collaboration with local dive tourism operators to improve manta ray conservation at Komodo National Park. In 2016, she was selected to participate in the East-West Center Fellowship in Hawai’i to develop collaborative relationships around environmental issues with other ASEAN leaders. Since then, she has worked with various international non-governmental organizations, including, RARE and Conservation International Indonesia, where she supported programs that focused on the improvement of small-scale fisheries management in coastal communities around Indonesia. These experiences have informed her understanding of the importance of policy-making in biodiversity conservation. She is particularly interested in how governance and stakeholder engagement improve local community livelihoods.

Coming Read about Niomi's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone


Niomi’s capstone will be supported by the Misool Foundation and the University of Oxford to improve alternative livelihood interventions in Lamakera’s coastal community as a part of the approach in improving the mobulid rays conservation. She will conduct a series of social-economic surveys to understand how the conservation measures has impacted the community’s current conditions and human wellbeing. Understanding how these interventions have impacted the community will be essential to improve current and future alternative livelihood and ensure that conservation is ethical and respects the rights of local people and vulnerable communities. Thus, the lessons and approach documented in this capstone can be replicated in other places with similar issues, potentially increasing the adoption of successful interventions for reducing mobulid ray utilization.

Faculty Advisor:

Eric Palkovacs

Partner Organization:

Ocean Science Trust

Timothy Scully

Repass-Rodgers Fellowship on California Salmon Restoration Policy

California, United States

Prior to graduating form the CSP program, Tim was hired to be the consultant for the California Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture chaired by Senator McGuire. In this role, Tim is applying his breadth of knowledge gained through the CSP program and his prior work for the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

For the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Lodi, California Tim worked on a monitoring program for native salmon and delta smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which has informed his particular interest in the Repass-Rodgers Fellowship at CSP. Timothy believes the CSP program will help him develop his goal of designing creative solutions that will help solve the water wars in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and save its endangered aquatic species. Timothy has previously served as an AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Program Member with the San Luis Obispo Steelhead Initiative, working on various restoration projects and monitoring programs with the goal of enhancing the South-Central California Coast steelhead population. Timothy graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Environmental Management & Protection, and was awarded the Humboldt Leadership Scholarship in 2016.

Read about Tim's Year 2 Capstone


Tim is focusing his capstone on salmon restoration policy in California’s Central Valley with an emphasis on hatchery, habitat, and water management. In summer 2021, Tim worked with the Golden State Salmon Association on advocating for salmon restoration projects such as fish passage barrier removal and hatchery infrastructure upgrades. He also wrote an OpEd in Cal Matters to share his advice on hatchery upgrades.  Tim then engaged with two different practitioner partners for his capstone: the California Ocean Science Trust (OST) and the California Legislature Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. For the Ocean Science Trust, Tim worked with the Legislative Science Services program and explored how OST can get more involved with salmon issues in California. Additionally, Tim was hired in March 2022 to be the consultant for the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture chaired by Senator McGuire.  In this position, Tim is studying California policy issues and problems related to Fisheries and Aquaculture in order to develop longer range solutions. He will also help to plan hearings or educational forums that the committee will hold on fisheries and aquaculture.

Faculty Advisors:

Mike Beck

Partner Organization:

The Nature Conservancy

Austen Stovall

North Carolina, United States

Originally from the town of Kill Devil Hills on the coast of North Carolina, Austen has a deep connection to the coastal zone.  Post undergraduate, Austen worked for a diverse array of conservation nonprofits focused on coral reef conservation. Austen has extensive field experience working on coral reefs and with coastal communities in the US Virgin Islands, Panama, Florida, and the Turks and Caicos. Most recently, Austen served as the 2018-2020 National Coral Reef Management Fellow in the US Virgin Islands under the Division of Coastal Zone Management at the St. Croix East End Marine Park. Working on the ground in coastal resource management solidified Austen’s desire to work in coastal management and policy. Additionally, Austen’s experience working on St. Croix just months after the devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria reinforced her interest not just in studying marine systems, but societal and environmental vulnerabilities to climate change. Austen has two outlined goals in the CSP program: “to advocate for coastal adaptation and resilience in the coastal planning process, and to build community capacity to advocate for systematic changes that will prepare them for the threats that climate change poses to their coastal livelihoods”. Austen is excited to strengthen her skills and discover actionable coastal management solutions through the CSP Program.

Read about Austen's Year 2 Capstone


Austen will be working with The Nature Conservancy to conduct a Feasibility Assessment for Hazard Mitigation funding of a reef restoration project within FEMA Region IX and will work with industry experts to advance the field of funding reef restoration for risk reduction projects within U.S. coral reef jurisdictions. During summer 2021, Austen will participate in the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars program where she will receive mentorship and guidance to cultivate her capstone project idea.

Faculty Advisor:

Erika Zavaleta

Sikina Jinnah

Partner Organizations:

City of Oakland Public Works Department, Environmental Services Division

Environmental Science Associates

Chinonso Uzowihe

Washington D.C., United States and Nigeria

During his capstone year, Chinonso started working with the Sustainability Team within the city of Oakland’s Environmental Services Division. He continues to work in this role helping to advance and advocate for equitable, just and inclusive planning processes in Oakland, California.

Chinonso is particularly interested in the CSP program because of its focus on coastal communities and climate change, location, and partnerships. Furthermore, he points out that being in California would be an opportunity to learn how the state and local cities are taking steps to combat environmental change, carbon emissions, sea level rise, and generally acting as a global leader in environmental policy. While at CSP, Chinonso would like to explore stakeholder engagement in coastal climate action, in addition to how current environmental policy impacts local communities and coastal health. He has participated in multiple NSF funded field opportunities, including the STEM Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) and an REU in Belize.

Read about Chino's Year 2 Capstone


For his capstone, Chino is working with two partners to address equity and environmental justice in Climate Action Plan (CAP) development and implementation. Currently, Chinonso is working with the Sustainability Team within the city of Oakland’s Environmental Services Division. His project is focused on supporting the new Equitable Climate Action Plan’s (ECAP) implementation by both consolidating and highlighting the city’s climate equity progress on the ECAP’s goals; the latter will be accomplished by creating an easily accessible story map that allows residents to stay informed and can help keep the city accountable. Chinonso believes lack of access to information contributes to inequities and thus using this story map to centralize information for all community members will be a step towards addressing this.

During the summer and fall, he worked as an intern with a consulting firm, Environmental Science Associates, to identify best practices in incorporating equity and EJ into CAPs they develop in the future. This time with them was also spent independently evaluating the environmental justice policies of California state agencies and expanding his technical and management skills.

Faculty Advisors:

Carrie Pomeroy

Eric Palkovacs

Partner Organization:

FISHBIO

William Ware

Georgia, United States

Will endeavors to help both fisheries and water managers assess how natural resource policies affect diverse stakeholders. This career-long pursuit is fueled by his interest in fish and fishers. He explored connections between fish and people as an interdisciplinary marine science major in Florida where he engaged fishers, government researchers, and university scientists situated in coastal and inland waters. In California Will continues to investigate how fisheries and water management affect human wellbeing in the San Francisco Estuary and Central Valley of California through his work on the state’s striped bass (Morone saxatilis) fishery and its complex interaction with salmonid restoration (read more below). He is an M.Sc. candidate at UC Santa Cruz, a fisheries biologist at FISHBIO, and an inaugural “Ocean and Climate Justice Fellow” at Save Our Shores and the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

Read about Will's Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone

Will is contributing to the striped bass management solution pathway by developing models of when and where striped bass are likely to be present on the Stanislaus River, which will improve the scientific knowledge needed to inform resource management decisions. During the summer, he completed work on a variety of projects related to striped bass including reviewing literature and analyzing data on striped bass in California (e.g., coastal recreational fishers catch records, monitoring programs in the San Francisco Estuary). The broad review narrowed his research to the lower Stanislaus River, a forty-mile river segment stretching from the Oakdale Recreation Area downstream to the confluence with the San Joaquin River. Will’s statistical analyses and visuals revealed clear differences in the sizes of striped bass sampled at different times within sampling seasons, yet the factors driving these size differences in seasonal presence remain unknown.

During his Year 2 Capstone, Will is using dynamic, multi-season occupancy models to estimate when and where two size classes of striped bass are likely to be present in the lower Stanislaus River, over annual sampling seasons from 2019 to 2021. He is modeling with input from FISHBIO researchers, Tyler Pilger, Ph.D., and Matt Peterson, as well as UC Santa Cruz researchers, Chris Wilmers, Ph.D., and John Morgan. The overarching project goal is to understand when and where striped bass are in the lower Stanislaus River during sampling events from 2019-2021. Will’s capstone project explicitly compares the seasonal occurrence of subadult and adult striped bass along an understudied Central Valley river using novel methods that leverage standardized monitoring data collected over multiple years. The project outcome is to show water and fisheries managers how body size, river flow (cfs), site, and sampling day correlate with annual striped bass presence in the Stanislaus River.

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