Ph.D. DE COHORT 2019-07-01T16:51:29-07:00

2019 Designated Emphasis Cohort

UC Santa Cruz welcomed its first cohort of designated emphasis (DE) students in Fall 2019. DE coursework and requirements emphasizes interdisciplinary scholarship, project-based study, and developing practical solutions to real-world problems.

Meet the members of the first DE cohort below:

Ashley Bae

Pasadena, California

Ashley is an Environmental Studies PhD student with a Designated Emphasis in Coastal Science & Policy (CSP). Her research with advisor Prof. Anne Kapuscinski lies in the practical solutions for a healthier ocean and fish-friendly aquaculture. Relevant (buzz) words that motivate her work include sustainable food systems, integrated agriculture-aquaculture, circular economy, and consumption trends. Prior to coming to UC Santa Cruz, Ashley worked on Adaptation & Resilience strategies (World Bank – Climate Change Group), product-level supply chain emissions analysis (CoClear, CDP), and planning for the Global Climate Action Summit (Gov. Jerry Brown’s office). Ashley holds an M.A. in Climate & Society from Columbia University and a B.S. in Biology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Her undergraduate thesis investigated landings in a small-scale, rural fishery in northern Palawan, Philippines. Through CSP, Ashley hopes to gain insight into novel strategies for coastal protection, especially through business, and to engage with industry partners. Most of all, she is excited to meet and collaborate with existing and future CSP cohorts!

Melissa Cronin

North Reading, Massachusetts

Melissa Cronin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Conservation Action Lab at UC Santa Cruz studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a Designated Emphasis in Coastal Science & Policy. Her research focuses on mapping and mitigating marine fisheries bycatch, mainly looking at manta and devil ray bycatch in small-scale and industrial fisheries. She uses an array of approaches including genetic analyses, spatial mapping, economic optimization, and social science methods to characterize problematic bycatch, and to propose tangible solutions to reduce it. She is also interested in science communication, drawing on her background as an environmental journalist covering climate, politics, and wildlife crime. Her work has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Gawker, Grist, VICE, Popular Science, and The Nation. She is interested in how storytelling is part of the scientific process, and the ways in which collective narratives shape how science is perceived and acted upon.

Kelly Ann Keen

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Kelly Ann Keen is a Ph.D. student in the Costa Lab studying Ecology & Evolutionary Biology with a Designated Emphasis in Coastal Science & Policy. Her Ph.D. research focuses on developing predictive models to assess how human activities and environmental change may affect the reproductive success and survival of marine wildlife, with a focus on humpback whales foraging along the western Antarctic Peninsula. With this information, she is interested in developing science-based tools to support the development of realistic risk assessments as well as effective wildlife management and conservation strategies. For more than a decade, Kelly has worked as a researcher/scientist for non-profits, universities, and state government conducting field work and evaluating the impacts of human activities on the marine environment. She has a master’s degree from Scripps Institution of Oceanography with a focus on the acoustic impacts of seismic surveys and marine environmental policy, and a B.S. in Psychobiology from the University of New England.

Rachel Pausch

Miami, Florida

Rachel Pausch is currently an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. student with a Designated Emphasis in Coastal Science & Policy (CSP). After earning her B.S. at the University of Miami, she worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitoring threatened coral populations in the Florida Keys. The 2014-2015 coral bleaching events and subsequent response from the government and research community cemented her interest in management of nearshore subtidal systems. She is currently interested in the ecology driving marine mitigation along the California coast.

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