Over the last few months, the CHRN has had a number of new additions, pushing our number of active members over 60! As we begin to plan for our annual meeting (preliminary information and save-the-date coming soon), we wanted to introduce our newest members, Mike Chang (The Nature Conservancy/Makah Tribe), Ken Connell (Golder Associates Inc.), Jessica Côté (Confluence Environmental Company), Erica Harris (AECOM), Ann Schnitz (Baker Consulting Group), and Melissa Watkinson (The Nature Conservancy). See below for brief bios of each of our new members, and as always, please feel free to reach out to one another either through the CHRN listserv or directly via email.
The Nature Conservancy/Makah Tribe
2015-2016 Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow
Mike Chang is the 2015-2016 Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow for the Makah Tribe/The Nature Conservancy. Mike is helping conduct a climate change and ocean acidification vulnerability assessment for the Makah Tribe. The results will be used to develop and inform Makah Ocean Policy and support the Makah Tribe's engagement in state and regional marine planning and climate adaptation forums.
Some of his past work and research experiences include working as a molecular ecologist on marine invasive species and as a research assistant on the impacts of community based management in Solomon Island fisheries. In graduate school, Mike worked as a teaching assistant for the UW Biology department, a research assistant on a science communication project, and as the social media manager for Washington Sea Grant. His master’s thesis was on science art and how art can be used to communicate science and research. Mike has a B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Yale University and a Masters of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington’s School of Marine & Environmental Affairs.
Golder Associates Inc.
Senior Coastal Oceanographer
Ken Connell is a Senior Coastal Oceanographer at Golder Associates Inc. with over 14 years of professional experience in multi-disciplinary applied coastal projects combining field studies, physical and numerical modeling, analytical and predictive software tool development, and engineering and scientific analysis. Ken has a MS in Physical Oceanography and a BS in Oceanography/Marine Environmental Systems from Florida Institute of Technology. His work focuses on providing practical, yet technically-sound, science-based solutions to issues related to coastal infrastructure near communities and ports. He has extensive experience in the analysis of sea level variability, flooding, directional waves, currents and hydraulic forces, pollutant dispersion, tsunami risk, coastal erosion, sediment transport dynamics, and coastal morphology evolution for marine spatial planning and coastal resiliency projects. Ken has served as an invited peer reviewer for Journal of Coastal Research, Ocean Engineering, and Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering.
Confluence Environmental Company
Senior Coastal Engineer
Jessica Côté is a Senior Coastal Engineer at Confluence Environmental Company. Her focus is on process-based studies to determine the feasibility and environmental effects of sediment dredging and disposal, commercial aquaculture, coastal development and infrastructure, and shoreline stabilization. Jessica has worked on complex coastal issues across the United States and around the world over the last 15 years including four of the five major oceans. Jessica graduated from Tufts University School of Engineering in 1993 in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Studies, and also has a Masters of Science in Ocean Engineering from Oregon State University. She is a licensed Professional Civil Engineer in the States of Washington and Alaska and published many peer reviewed papers.
Erica Harris is a Coastal Scientist at AECOM in Seattle, where she specializes in nearshore processes, coastal hazards, and analyzing the role of climate change on coastal environments. She has experience performing coastal hazards analyses, risk and vulnerability assessments, and flood and erosion analyses. Before moving to Seattle, Erica worked at AECOM in Oakland, and she is very interested in incorporating some of the lessons learned working on these issues in the Bay Area to Washington State.
Erica earned her Bachelor’s Degree in GIS and Spatial Analysis at Ohio State University, and her Master’s in Coastal Oceanography with a focus on coastal hazards at Oregon State University.
Baldwin Consulting Group
Ann Schnitz has over twenty-five (25) years of academic and consulting experience in environmental toxicology and has performed human health and ecological risk assessments using both State and Federal guidance; at least ten (10) years of that experience has involved the determination of the toxicological effects of contaminants on organisms in support of injury assessments, ecological risk assessments and community structure/impact evaluations. Although polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are a particular specialty, she has evaluated the risks of exposures to metals, chlorinated solvents, pesticides and PCBs to a variety of receptors.
Other aspects of Dr. Schnitz’ career include project management, regulatory compliance, natural history of reptiles and amphibians and fish, comparative anatomy and physiology, marketing and business development, technical writing and presentations.
In 1998, Dr. Schnitz completed a Ph.D. in aquatic toxicology at Rutgers University; the research involved the metabolism of benzo(a)pyrene in flatfish and two sedimentary prey organisms. Prior to this, she completed an M.S. at New York University, studying the biodynamics of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene in rainbow trout. She is currently an independent consultant, managing fisheries projects for The Baldwin Group of Manassas, VA.
The Nature Conservancy
2015-2016 Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow
Melissa Watkinson is the 2015-2016 Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow at The Nature Conservancy, where she brings policy and social science experience to habitat protection and sustainable fisheries projects working with coastal communities. She earned her master’s degree in Policy Studies at University of Washington Bothell in 2015. As a graduate student, she worked as a research assistant at UW with the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute to conduct community-based research with tribal colleges, and with Washington Sea Grant on social indicator research for WA’s Marine Spatial Plan. Her capstone research employed cross-disciplinary research methods to better understand the impacts of historic and federal land policies and programs on climate change adaptation for tribal communities who are experiencing a loss of coastal land. Melissa also brings experience from volunteering and collaborating with organizations that work to address the needs of communities who face multiple climate impacts.
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