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2022-24 Susan L. Williams National Coral Reef Management Fellowship

The 2024 Susan L. Williams National Coral Reef Management Fellowship program is a partnership between Nova Southeastern University’s National Coral Reef Institute, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs, and the U.S. Coral Reef All Islands Committee.

The program recruits Coral Reef Management Fellows for the seven U.S. coral reef jurisdictions (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) to address current capacity gaps and to build longer-term capacity in these locations. This is done by placing highly qualified individuals whose education and work experience meet each jurisdiction’s specific coral reef management needs. The program’s goal is to develop a thriving collaborative fellowship program that builds excellent next-generation leaders and capacity for effective local coral reef ecosystem management.

American Samoa • Tilali Scanlan

Tilali Scanlan was born and raised in Vaitogi, American Samoa and received her B.S. in Marine Science from the University of the South Pacific at Fiji. Tilali will be working with the Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG) and partner agencies as the Fellow in American Samoa to conduct coral restoration trials in the village of Aua. She will continue to work on raising community awareness and knowledge of coral restoration techniques and practices, building local technical capacity and ensuring ongoing success with coral restoration efforts. Tilali will also help bolster and implement the territorial coral restoration plan and support the work of general conservation activities and projects.

CNMI • Elly Perez

Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Elly Perez attended Indiana University Bloomington where she received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology along with a certificate in Underwater Resource Management. As the Fellow in Saipan, CNMI, Elly will work to develop and implement a CNMI-wide Coral Bleaching Response Plan and resilience-based management strategies to address acute disturbances of bleaching. This will include raising community awareness regarding impacts of climate change on CNMI’s reefs and working towards developing a monitoring program to assess long and short-term impacts of coral bleaching. She will work collaboratively with federal and state partners, as well as non-profits and local businesses to address all concerns with climate change on the CNMI’s reef ecosystem health.

Florida • Samantha Cook

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Samantha (Sam) Cook received her B.S. in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University and her M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. As the Fellow in South Florida, Sam will primarily help coordinate the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) response team across Florida’s Coral Reef. This includes working with state and federal partners, as well as universities and non-government organizations to help translate ongoing research into management practices. She will also support restoration efforts by helping to coordinate the implementation of defined priorities within the SCTLD Restoration Team.

Guam • Camille Quichocho

Born and raised in Guam, Camille Quichocho received her B.S. in Agriculture and Life Sciences and Biology minor from the University of Guam. During her fellowship, Camille will work with the Guam Coral Reef Initiative to develop a comprehensive action plan to guide Guam’s coral reef restoration efforts for the next 10 years. The focus of these efforts is to enhance reef resilience to thermal stress, restore reef fish habitats to support sustainable subsistence and commercial fisheries, and recover ecologically important coral species.

Hawaii • Lara Noren

Lara Noren is originally from Minnesota and received her B.S. in marine biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As the Fellow for Hawai'i, Lara will work for the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) to amplify and investigate diverse sustainable funding streams for coral restoration projects and other nature-based solutions. These sustainable funding streams include developing a Reef Insurance Report for the Hawai'i state legislature, submitting updates to the Hawai'i Mitigation Bank Prospectus for DAR, and assisting in the Ocean Stewardship Feasibility Study for DAR's Ocean Stewardship Fund. These projects will ensure diverse funding to protect Hawaii's coastlines from natural disasters and to enhance the state's marine resources for recreational use.

Puerto Rico - Ashley Perez

Ashley Pérez was born and raised in Puerto Rico and received her B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico. Ashley has spent over 10 years within the conservation management field, during which time she's developed and implemented numerous community outreach, environmental education, citizen science and research projects. Her expertise stems from her ability to create lasting, meaningful collaborative projects with interdisciplinary groups whilst investing efforts on the protection of natural resources. As the 2022-2023 Puerto Rico Coral Reef Management Fellow, Ashley will be working with the e Department of Natural and Environmental Resources through the Coral Reef Program to promote citizen science participation in Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease management efforts. She will implement strategies that help engage local participation in coral reef monitoring as well as collaboration between research, education, rescue and management groups. She will also assist in promoting awareness and participation from the citizen science program which will be designed to fill coral reef knowledge gaps along the island.

US Virgin Islands • Erin Bowman

Erin Bowman received her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island and her M.S. in Marine Ecology and Conservation from the International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources program. As the US Virgin Islands Fellow, Erin will work with the Division of Coastal Zone Management in the St. Croix East End Marine Park. Primarily, she will coordinate coral disease treatments intended to reduce the impact of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) in the area. She will also work with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to evaluate the effects of coastal development in the form of watershed interventions on the nearby marine environment as well as support the preparation and execution of the 2023 US Coral Reef Task Force meeting.

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