Samantha C. Dowdell, University of Miami (Graduate). Ms. Dowdell is a graduate of Dartmouth College and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Marine Affaris and Policy at the University of Miami. She is a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow. She serves as the sole student representative on the Marine Ecosystems and Society Academic Committee, where she helps professors determine departmental policies and resolve academic issues, and she is a teaching assistant. She has studied in Bonnaire, China, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, the Galápagos Islands, Lesotho, Namibia, Panama, South Africa, and Vietnam. Her internship experience includes work with the Conservation Law Foundation, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Resolve.
Her studies include policy analysis, geographic information system (GIS) tools, and socioeconomic valuation methodologies. As a component of the NOAA Habitat Blueprint Biscayne Bay Habitat Focus Area project, her thesis will identify water quality degradation hot spots and describe the spatial flexibility of Biscayne Bay fisheries and recreational water operations. The overarching purpose of her research is to preserve Biscayne Bay economic and environmental health. Her specific goals are to (1) determine the economic value and spatial flexibility of Biscayne Bay fisheries and recreational water operations and to (2) use this information to increase awareness of the Bay’s value and to encourage environmental stewardship and conservation initiatives.
Ms. Dowdell aspires to a career in public service addressing issues such as domestic and international fisheries management, IUU fishing, conservation of threatened marine species, protected area spatial planning and management, and coastal community vulnerability.
Quinn Zacharias, Florida State University (Undergraduate). Mr. Zacharias is an Environmental/Civil Engineering major at Florida State University. His interest in water resources issues began in high school, when he conducted research on water quality before, during, and after publicly funded restoration efforts in Rose Bay, in Volusia County. Mr. Zacharias presented his findings to the Port Orange City Council, Rotary Club, Audubon Society, and the 2016 AWRA ShORE Symposium. He has engaged in public advocacy efforts through the Environmental Service Program at Florida State University and studied abroad in Panama. His former teacher and mentor in Volusia County wrote of him, “I have been a teacher for thirty years and I have only had a few students who would be such a highly recommended recipient. I work with all ten high schools in this school district and I can honestly say that Quinn is the most deserving student I know and who will become a great researcher, scientist, citizen and role model.” Mr. Zacharias plans to use his engineering degree to work for a government agency on environment-related projects and hopes to own his own engineering firm one day.