CSUS graduate student chosen as NOAA fellow

Jessica Brunacini was selected as a fellow for the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship, a new program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Jessica with decision-making tool during a stakeholder workshop
Jessica with decision-making tool during a stakeholder workshop

Department of Community Sustainability graduate student, Jessica Brunacini, has been chosen as one of 29 graduate students in the inaugural cohort for the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship, a new program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office for Coastal Management.

Through their research project, fellows will address a key coastal management question to help scientists and communities understand coastal challenges that may influence future policy and management strategies.

Jessica’s research project is entitled “Broadening Participation to Build Resilience: Exploring the Role and Effect of Public Participation in Decision-Making around Managed Retreat in Wells, Maine.”

Jessica says that her research “explores the role that public participation plays in decision-making about how to respond to the impacts of climate change. For the Davidson Fellowship, I will focus specifically on coastal communities who are facing the possibility of relocating further inland due to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and increased flooding.”

Jessica’s work will take place in Wells, Maine, working in partnership with the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Coastal Training Program.

Jessica presenting to local stakeholders
Jessica presenting to local stakeholders

Jessica notes this work is important because “coastal communities throughout the U.S., and around the world, are already dealing with the challenges of planning for relocation as a strategy for adapting to changing climate conditions - this research will help shed light on effective practices for meaningfully engaging the public in making decisions about the future of their communities.”

Thinking towards the start of her research, Jessica says she is especially excited for the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from her research partners and the community in Wells.

The first fellowship class will begin summer of 2020.

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