Student News

Meet the 2017 Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellows


Eleven students.  Three states.  Four countries.   This year's Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellows are tackling ocean and coastal resource management challenges across a broad range of disciplines:  deep sea conservation research, climate resilience, community-based resource management, sustainable financing, blue growth, fisheries management, coastal adaptation, community education, and gender equity.

Learn More: 

The 2017 Summer Fellows Profiles give project descriptions and fellowship location for each student, while the students themselves offer tales from the field with their 2017 Summer Fellows Blogs

2017 Ocean Policy Course:  Interdisciplinary, Intercollegiate, Free

This summer, students who attend the International Environmental Policy Studies program at the Middlebury Institute have a unique opportunity to come together with students from California State University Monterey Bay, Hopkins Marine Station, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Naval Postgraduate School, Stanford University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz to engage in a two-week intensive course on ocean policy. The  Monterey Area Research Institutions’ Network for Education (MARINE) consortium led by the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) will host the course July 16-28, 2017 in which participants will examine current and urgent ocean policy issues that demonstrate the complexity of ocean-related decision-making. 


Science Communication for Policy Change:  Knowledge Pyramids

arctic_sunset-1650x375Graduate Research Assistants at the Center for the Blue Economy at MIIS in collaboration with the SEARCH--the Study of Environmental Arctic Change, led by Dr. Brendan Kelly in his dual role as SEARCH Executive Director and Center for the Blue Economy Senior Fellow will be presenting a concept called a "Knowledge Pyramids" at the American Geophysical Union's annual fall meeting.  This is the largest science meeting in the northern hemisphere, with roughly 24,000 scientists attending. 

What is a Knowledge Pyramid?  Knowledge Pyramids answer specific, societally important questions in concise, non-technical briefs.


Arctic Policy and Governance Educational Partnership

Arctic iceThanks to the efforts of Center for the Blue Economy Senior Fellow Dr. Brendan Kelly (Arctic expert for more than 40 years), a new, innovative collaboration between MIIS, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, NOAA, the State of Alaska, and indigenous organizations is set to take off in Feb. 2017.   The project seeks to enhance the effectiveness of Arctic policy and governance by advancing new approaches to the policy-science-indigenous knowledge interface.  The internship provides the opportunity for two MIIS students (congratulations Sorina Seeley and Megan Godfrey) to lead this relationship building effort,  while getting academic credit through the International Professional Service Semester program, and getting paid through a NOAA grant.   We could not ask for a better opportunity for our students.


Meet the 2016 Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellows


Each year, students who are taking the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management concentration within the Master of Arts in International Environmental Policy program are eligible to apply for a fully-funded CBE Summer Fellowship.  This year, we have nine students with a diverse range of projects and locations, from San Francisco to Bali, Denmark to Fiji.  The organizations they will be working with include:  Conservation International, Root Solutions, the Environmental Defense Fund , Pelagic Data Systems, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Oceania, Maersk Drilling, and the National Ocean Economics Program.  Their projects range from behavioral design to protect nesting sea birds from low-flying airplanes to collaborating on deep-sea mining policy recommendations for the Pacific Islands.    You can read each student's project description on their profile, and follow their adventures by reading their blog posts. 

Learn More:  See the 2016 Summer Fellows profiles

Read the 2016 Summer Fellows Blogs


Student teams develop innovative products to benefit locals and the world:  Introducing the Fog Log and Fish Cubed.


Two Middlebury Institute student teams were among 26 finalists in the annual Monterey Bay Startup Challenge held on Friday, May 6, 2016 at California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Ninety teams participated in the initial round. Both teams began working on their ideas as part of a class project in a new course called “Green Business Feasibility Assessment” taught by international environmental policy professor Jeffrey Langholz. Given the theme of “sustainable water” for their projects, both teams came up with creations that could benefit local families and the global environment.  FogLog is a cylindrical household device that harvests and collects water from fog, that is perfectly suited for families who live in the “fog belt” between Monterey and Santa Cruz.  Fish Cubed is another student-designed device that uses a combination of aeroponics and aquaponics to efficiently grow food in your home. Picture something like a low-cost, low-maintenance refrigerator, but with live fish swimming around and organic produce growing inside.

Read More:  MIIS Newsroom Article

See video highlights from the 2016 May Graduation Ceremony


Students at MIIS host an array of Earth Week events

EarthWeek2016The idea for Earth Week was born from a group of environmental policy graduate students wanting to raise awareness about sustainability issues. This year Earth Week's mission is to catalyze the Institute community to be the sustainable solution for the whole year! The vision of Earth Year is to actively educate our campus and the wider Monterey community to cultivate environmental leadership, innovation, and cultural change throughout the year to reach MIIS carbon neutrality goal.

See all events April 18-22, 2016


The Changing Arctic: Ecosystems, Economy, and Geopolitics.

Kelly.KildowStudents at the Monterey Institute will have a unique opportunity this spring to take a course entitled: The Changing Arctic: Ecosystems, Economy, and Geopolitics. The course will be co-taught by Dr. Brendan P. Kelly, CBE Senior Fellow and Executive Director of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) and Dr. Judith Kildow, Director of the CBE's National Ocean Economics Program. Both instructors offer more than 40 years of experience in their respective fields.

Read More

2016 Wicked Marine Problems Course: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Coastal Climate Adaptation

MARINE.logo2The second course in an innovation series called "Wicked Marine Problems" kicked off on January 8th, 2016 at the Long Marine Lab at UC Santa Cruz. This is a three-unit, ten-week long course offered for credit to students from all seven academic and research institutions in the Monterey Area Research Institutions’ Network for Education (MARINE) consortium. In this course students will explore the skills and techniques relevant for carrying out a substantive original multidisciplinary research project with a focus on human adaptation to the coastal impacts of climate change. The Center for the Blue Economy's Director of Research, Dr. Charles Colgan, will be one of the presenters. The "Wicked" series represents the first time that students from all seven MARINE campuses can study together in courses offered for credit at each respective institution. The first course in the series was offered in the spring of 2015, was taught by Dr. Mike McGinnis of the Center for the Blue Economy and Middlebury Institute, and focused on commercial vessel traffic and whale strikes.

Learn more: Wicked Marine Problems: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Coastal Climate Adaptation

Students Join United Nations Diplomatic Conference on Global Ocean Dumping Issues

MIIS Delegation at IMO head tableA delegation of International Environmental Policy students, from the Fall 2015 course titled “Managing International Marine Pollution,” attended a meeting of the Contracting Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on global ocean dumping issues. The meeting was held at the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization in London, UK from October 12-16, 2015. Learn more: Student Delegation to UN Conference on Global Ocean Dumping


Angelina Skowronski shares her Aquaculture in Profile series

Angelina-258x357Angelina Skowronski, an MBA/IEP student, spent her summer interviewing aquaculture farmers, processors, and the community in Madagascar with an organization called Blue Ventures. She writes a unique blog giving voice to their experiences, "Aquaculture in Profile" series.

Aquaculture in profile #1 – Marie-Louise: “We are preparing for our future”

Aquaculture in profile #2 – Soanatoa: “If you take care of it, then you benefit.”

Aquaculture in profile #3– Clarisse & Ringo: “I just hope the fish return”

The International Environmental Policy Program Gets Local: Beach Bonfire

IMG_3252The first and second year students in the Master of Arts program for International Environmental Policy studies got to know each other in a uniquely Monterey way: the beach bonfire. OK, it may not be completely unique to Monterey, but it is how locals often celebrate and gather. Of course the students left no trace, especially on the heels of the California Coastal Clean Up day. iepBONFIRE2


Our 2015 Summer Fellows have Returned


The Center for the Blue Economy, through the generosity of the Hayward Foundation, sponsored ten Summer Fellows in 2015. The Fellows pursued internships with focus areas ranging from fisheries management to climate change vulnerability analysis, and locations from San Francisco to Micronesia. They have returned now to start the fall semester of their final year. You can read about their adventures on their blogs.

Jennifer Adams: UNESCO's World Heritage Marine Programme, France
Heather Benko: Environmental Defense Fund, San Francisco, CA
Whitney Berry: Locally-Managed Marine Areas, Micronesia
Marina Binsack: California State Coastal Conservancy, Oakland, CA
Chelsea Jordan: Sustainability at Maersk Drilling, Denmark
Melis Okter: Arctic Sustainability in Washington, D.C.
Matt Shipley: Sustainable aquaculture, Del Rey Oaks, CA
Emma Tonge: UNEP Global Programme of Action, Nairobi, Kenya
Heidi Williams: National University of Galway, Socio-Economic Research Unit, Ireland

Learn more: 2015 Summer Fellows profiles or the 2015 Summer Fellows blogs

2015 Wicked Marine Problems Course:  Commercial Shipping and Whale Strikes

MarketValue.Shipping.Image2The Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) sponsored a special two-unit, eight-week long course offered to all seven academic and research institutions in the Monterey Area Research Institutions’ Network for Education (MARINE) consortium in the spring of 2015. The course was co-taught by Dr. Michael McGinnis of the Center for the Blue Economy (shown left) and Dr. Allison Stimpert of Moss Landing Marine Labs (shown left teaching girl scouts how to tag whales.)

The first course of its kind in the Monterey Bay region, each week featured guest speakers and discussion on the range of pressures and potential responses to the impacts and threats posed to whales by large-scale commercial shipping activities in the California Current. This course represents the first time that students from all seven campus took a course for credit that is offered collaboratively between the campuses. The 25 students participating represent: the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (6), the Naval Postgraduate School (11), Stanford University (3), Moss Landing Marine Labs (1), California State University at Monterey Bay (2), San Francisco State University (1 via affiliation with CSUMB), and the University of Hawaii (1 via affiliation with UCSC).

Learn more:  Navigating Wicked Marine Problems 2015 Course


MIIS Student Among 30 Young Leaders Participating in High Level International Aid Conference

Molly McKeon (MAIEP 2016) talks environmental policy in Japan

Molly McKeon“There are very few chances you get as a young person to have honest one on one conversations with government leaders,” shares Middlebury Institute International Environmental Policy student Molly McKeon MAIEP '16, talking about her recent trip to Japan to participate in a meeting with young parliamentarians at an international aid conference. “And there I was talking trade offs between sustainability and development in French over lunch with the MPs from Togo and catching up with the MP from Panama about how environment might fit into her agenda.” Molly was invited to participate in the conference as part of her Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum Young Leader Program. (Article courtesy of MIIS newsroom--Read More)

Students Choose Service for the Semester

Vicky Bell (MAEIP-OCRM 2015) is in Washington, D.C. with the Marine Conservation Institute

victoria_bellVicky is working with the Marine Conservation Institute this spring. Her job is to track and evaluate congressional actions, attend and report on congressional, administration and NGO events, set up and attend lobby meetings, build and maintain congressional staffer relationships, create and update educational materials, and create a daily marine conservation newsletter. She also testifies at public hearings regularly and writes petitions on important marine issues. See her International Policy Service Semester profile.

Mairi Miller is in Rome, Italy with the UN FAO

mairi_millerMairi is working for the UN Food and Food and Agricultural Organization in the small-scale fisheries and aquaculture division. Her work includes research and project development on the suite of large marine ecosystem approaches in the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem. This includes an analysis of Marine Protected Areas in West Africa and their success, implementation, and policy gaps, and implications of climate change. Additionally she will support the development of a suite of fisheries projects for the upcoming coastal fisheries initiative for the Global Environment Facility, which include small-scale fisheries, fishers’ organizations, and marine managed areas.

Kelsey Richardson is in Apia, Samoa with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

kelsey_richardsonKelsey's work includes an extension of some of the work she did at UNEP's headquarters as a CBE Summer Fellow in 2014. She will provide support to UNEP marine litter initiatives in the region, and assist in the development of Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as a Regional Node for UNEP's Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML). Her work also includes research toward and the creation of a report on the origins and impacts of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear in the region. Finally she'll also have the opportunity to get out of the office and travel a bit in the region through participation in community-based demonstration pilot projects in both Samoa and other countries in the region. Kelsey spent almost 10 months sailing through the South Pacific region and various island countries in 2011. She is excited to work on the types of marine environmental issues that she experienced during her time sailing and which were in large part her inspiration to pursue a master's degree at MIIS.

Jordan Sanchez is in Imperial Beach, CA with WildCoast

DSC_0503At WildCoast Jordan is doing a feasibility study about the creation of a bi-national Marine Sanctuary between the United States and Mexico. In addition, Jordan will work with WildCoast staff to advocate for a bi-national watershed management plan for the Tijuana River between San Diego and Tijuana.

Angelina Skowronski awarded Sarah Meek Memorial Fund grant and CBE grant

Angelina Skowronski is in Madagascar with Blue Ventures

angelina_skowronskiAngelina Skowronski, an MBA/IEP student, has been awarded a travel grant from the Sarah Meek Memorial Fund for her research this summer in Madagascar. The CBE is also supporting Angelina with a travel grant. Her research project is entitled, "Implications of Community-based Aquaculture on Social Constructs in Madagascar." Partnering with Blue Ventures Madagascar team, Angelina will collect stories of those involved at multiple levels of the project including aquaculture farmers, processors, and their families in the Velondriake and Belo-Sur-Mer regions. One-on-one interviews and surveys will help collect personal stories and accounts of the new industry’s effects on households.