National CASC Student Interns & Fellows

Science Center Objects

The National CASC provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in our program through paid internships and volunteer positions. Students work on everything from supporting NCASC research projects to communications and program operations. Read about some of our students and the work they're doing below!

Communications

 

Nicole Bayne: Actionable Science: Communication for Climate Adaptation Planning

The communications team at the National CASC strives to raise awareness of the important climaterelated research conducted by our scientists across the CASC network. The focus is actionable science, or aspects of climate research which can be used as decision-making tools for resource managers and stakeholders to respond to changes in climate and predict implications these may have on ecosystems and communities. In addition to informing the public about the projects undertaken by CACS-affiliated researchers, Nicole’s role includes informing stakeholders and managers across the country about products and results they can use to make informed climate adaptation decisions. Nicole’s roles range from reformatting public research project summaries to interviewing and writing about CASC scientists and their research. 

University: George Mason University

Department: Environmental Science and Policy

Degree: Masters student

Start Date: January 2018

End Date: Current

Project Products: Scientist Spotlight: Toni Lyn Morelli; Scientist Spotlight: Adrienne Wootten; Scientist Spotlight: Chas Jones

 

Anna Janetos: Actionable Science: Communication for Climate Adaptation Planning

The communications team at the National CASC strives to raise awareness of the important climaterelated research conducted by our scientists across the CASC network. The focus is actionable science, or aspects of climate research which can be used as decision-making tools for resource managers and stakeholders to respond to change in climate and predict implications these may have on ecosystems and communities. In addition to informing the public about the projects undertaken daily by CASC-affiliated researchers, Anna’s role includes informing stakeholders and managers across the country about products and results they can use to make informed climate adaptation decisions. Anna’s other roles include editing project summaries to make them plain language, performing analytical tasks for the website and newsletter, and drafting news announcements for the website. She also helps with any other organizational, analytical, or communicative task the NCASC team may need.

University: Boston University

Department: Earth and Environment

Degree: Undergraduate student

Start Date: January 2019

End Date: Current

Project ProductsEffects of Climate Change on Deer & Moose; Funding from CDI for Climate Scenarios Toolbox; Climate, Fire, and Forest Change in California's Sierra Nevada

 

Inland Fish

 

Ashley Robertson: Improving National Estimates of Inland Recreational Harvest Using State Angler Survey Data

Ashley is working with NCASC Research Fish Biologist Abby Lynch to compile freshwater (inland) recreational fishery harvest reported by state. In particular, they are looking for a summary of each state’s total inland (freshwater) recreational harvest. This data will be synthesized, analyzed, and reported up to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to inform their global catch statistics, presenting the inland recreational harvest of the U.S. as a case study for recreational fisheries harvest estimates. 

University: George Mason University

Department: Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, Department of Environmental Science

Degree: Undergraduate student

Start Date: January 2018

End Date: Current

 

Gretchen Stokes: Assessing the Risk and Resiliency of the World's Inland Fisheries

Small-scale fisheries are important contributors to global food security and poverty alleviation. However, unlike marine fisheries, there is no standardized method to monitor and assess the status of inland fisheries. Gretchen is working with NCASC Research Fish Biologist Abby Lynch and a team from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to create an assessment tool to evaluate the threats and adaptive capacity of all major inland fisheries globally. She will identify priority contributors of fisheries, including georeferenced physical and biological factors, as well as human and consumption data, and use these to build an assessment framework. Input in such an assessment by fisheries officials over time will contribute to a greater understanding of trends in global inland fisheries and priority hotspots. In addition, Gretchen is working on a collaborative project with NCASC and ReelSonar, Inc. to develop and test a mobile application for data collection by small-scale fishers where data are otherwise unavailable. 

University: University of Florida

Department: School of Natural Resources and Environment

Degree: PhD candidate

Start Date: August 2018

End Date: Current

 

Jesse Wong: Assessing the Vulnerabilities of the World's Inland Fisheries & Resilience of Hawaiian Ecosystems: Examining the Impacts of Waterfalls on Native and Non-Native Fauna Movement

Jesse is working with Gretchen Stokes and NCASC Research Fish Biologist Abby Lynch to create a portal that assesses the potential threats, such as mining, harvesting, and agricultural pressures, impacting fisheries in a certain region of a lake. This tool will allow fishery managers and other users to quickly assess the health of the lake and the potential factors that could impact the lake. Jesse is also working with Abby Lynch and University of Hawai’i - Monoa professor Yin-Phan Tsang in attempting to identify waterfalls geospatially and use a landscape approach to assess whether these sites have the potential to inhibit non-native species movement. This study utilizes spatial analysis to infer habitat usage by native and non-native species. These results with highlight the role of how the Hawaiian islands may have some inherent mechanisms to make aquatic systems more resilient to change. 

University: George Mason University

Department: Environmental Science and Policy

Degree: Undergraduate student

Start Date: February 2019

End Date: Current

 

Project Frameworks

 

Ciara Johnson: Species' Range Shifts in Response to Climate Change

The volume of scientific evidence documenting climate-related impacts to biodiversity has grown tremendously over the past decade. However, the descriptions and implications of these impacts can vary widely among geographic regions and even within species, which makes defining adaptation solutions difficult. The scientific community needs a formal, testable framework for assembling evidence at multiple spatial scales if we are to construct meaningful hypotheses of biodiversity response to climate change across ecosystems, regions, and taxa. The National Climate Adaptation Science Center is in a unique position to coordinate regional scientific expertise from around the nation and to begin the construction of this ambitious activity. This project aims to establish such a framework, in conjunction with Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers, with the primary goals of assessing the “state of the science” in ways that will be useful to management communities (i.e., identifying mechanisms of species response to change), identifying areas of persistent uncertainties (i.e., research needs and data gaps), and providing adaptation strategies based on existing evidence. 

University: George Mason University

Department: Environmental Science and Policy

Degree: Undergraduate student

Start Date: February 2019

End Date: Current 

 

Sara Wheedleton: Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Policy Support Catalogue

IPBES is an intergovernmental body of United Nations member states, established to strengthen collaboration between science and policy to support the conservation of Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem services. Sara is working to identify USGS resources that could inform or assist decisionmakers in addressing biodiversity-related issues, and integrate them into the IPBES policy support catalogue to facilitate access by interested parties. Sara will also assist in the consolidation of U.S. government positions on different elements of IPBES publications that will be discussed and finalized during the upcoming Plenary meeting. 

University: George Mason University

Department: Environmental Science and Policy

Degree: Undergraduate student

Start Date: February 2019

End Date: Current

 

Science to Action Fellows

 

Lauren Hunt: Mapping Climate Change Vulnerability of Rangelands in the West Using Social-Ecological Indicators

The Science to Action Fellowship program supports graduate students in developing a product that puts science into action, directly applying scientific research related to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, or ecosystems to decision making about natural resources. As a fellow, Lauren will develop a novel vulnerability mapping tool to inform policy and improve climate change adaptation in the West. Such a map will reveal ecosystem and community vulnerabilities to help policy-makers prioritize their efforts. Lauren will use publicly available data, social-ecological science, and data science training to develop a publicly-available, web-based, and interactive product. Lauren’s work will focus on building adaptation capacity and understanding climate vulnerability. Lauren plans to publish the products of this research, including interactive maps and datasets, on the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability as a web-based community resource. Lauren will be in the Reston office for two months during the summer of 2019.

University: Boise State University

Department: Human-Environment Systems

Degree: PhD candidate

Start Date: May 2019

End Date: May 2020 

 

Sean Wineland: Reaches of Opportunity: Boosting Environmental Flows and Fish Conservation at Low Societal Water Cost in the Southern Great Plains

The Science to Action Fellowship program supports graduate students in developing a product that puts science into action, directly applying scientific research related to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, or ecosystems to decision making about natural resources. Intensifying conflicts between societal water needs and environmental flows in drought-prone river basins highlights a need for decision-support tools to aid decision makers in choosing where and when to invest scarce resources. However, uncertainty across future climate scenarios complicates decision making processes. Sean aims to help guide decision makers through this process by identifying locations in the Red River in the southern Great Plains where environmental flows can be boosted to benefit fish populations while not impeding societal water resources. Sean’s project will gauge the perspectives of water resource and fisheries managers on the impacts of climate change on water resource and fisheries management and produce a decision-support tool that aids water resource and fisheries managers in prioritizing the best locations and times to boost environmental flows or perform fisheries management actions. Sean will be in the Reston office for two months during the summer of 2019. 

University: University of Oklahoma

Department: Geography and Environmental Sustainability

Degree: PhD candidate

Start Date: May 2019

End Date: May 2020 

 

Ecological Society of America Interns

 

Logan Neu: River and Recreational Fisheries

Logan will be working principally on two aquatic projects during his internship: estimating global river fisheries harvest potential and national inland recreational fish harvest.  For the rivers project, Logan will help compile a standardized database of global river fishery information, collected through a systematic literature review and may examine ways to combine this database with remote sensing and other environmental data.  For the recreational fishing project, Logan will help standardize creel data and angler survey data for inland water bodies from all 50 states to help develop a spatiallyexplicit model of recreational harvest using remotely-sensed and in-situ environmental data in a Bayesian framework.  

University: University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Department: Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Degree: Undergraduate student

Start Date: May 2019

End Date: TBD 

 

Mari Angel Rodriguez: Species' Range Shifts in Response to Climate Change

The volume of scientific evidence documenting climate-related impacts to biodiversity has grown tremendously over the past decade. However, the descriptions and implications of these impacts can vary widely among geographic regions and even within species, which makes defining adaptation solutions difficult. The scientific community needs a formal, testable framework for assembling evidence at multiple spatial scales if we are to construct meaningful hypotheses of biodiversity response to climate change across ecosystems, regions, and taxa. The National Climate Adaptation Science Center is in a unique position to coordinate regional scientific expertise from around the nation and to begin the construction of this ambitious activity. This project aims to establish such a framework, in conjunction with Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers, with the primary goals of assessing the “state of the science” in ways that will be useful to management communities (i.e., identifying mechanisms of species response to change), identifying areas of persistent uncertainties (i.e., research needs and data gaps), and providing adaptation strategies based on existing evidence.

University: The College of New Jersey

Department: Biology

Degree: Undergraduate student

Start Date: June 2019

End Date: TBD