Introducing the 10th Annual Cohort of Southeast CASC Global Change Fellows

We are proud to welcome our newest cohort of Global Change Fellows and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program! These exceptional NC State graduate students represent diverse fields of study from civil engineering to the humanities. They will meet together as a cohort throughout the year to engage on the challenges of global change through a multi-disciplinary perspective. Learn about these exceptional graduate students who will be joining the SE CASC team this fall.


Madeline Anderson
2nd year Master’s student in the Department of Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Advisor: Dr. Astrid Schnetzer

Where are you from? 
Pinehurst, North Carolina

What do you study?
My research focuses on phytoplankton community dynamics in Bogue Sound NC, with a special focus on harmful algal species and associated toxins. Collaborative research efforts will aim to determine the spatiotemporal patterns of toxin contamination in oysters and examine how environmental conditions relate to toxin loads.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
As a Global Change Fellow I am excited to broaden my interdisciplinary perspectives, and I look forward to establishing a platform where I can provide insight to harmful algal bloom risk and start discussions that can impact environmental management strategies.


Regina Ayala Chavez
Second year PhD student in the Department of Education
Advisor: Dr. KC Busch

Where are you from?
Mexico

What do you study?
I am interested in studying how household managers make decisions for their homes to mitigate climate change. I am interested in targeting Spanish-speaking women because I consider them a forgotten group in society.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
I am excited to become a member of this program, to meet new people with the same interest as mine but with different focuses. I think that climate change needs to be attacked on many fronts. I am looking forward to becoming a member of the NC State Network of global change.


Smitom Borah
1st year PhD student in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Dr. Daniel Obenour

Where are you from?
India

What do you study?
My research is primarily focused on understanding and identifying the dominant biogeochemical processes in aquatic systems that affect their water quality and translating those processes into a modeling framework such that effective management practices can be adopted.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow?
I am very excited to be a part of this cohort of Global Change Fellows and looking forward to many interesting conversations that we will have with each other as well as with experts from different fields.


Olakunle Emmanuel Sodiya
1st year PhD student in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
Advisor: Dr. Justin Baker

Where are you from?
Nigeria

What do you study?
I am interested in understanding how forest product markets and resource utilization trends in the Southern U.S. may be affected by climate, socioeconomic, and policy change in the future. Developing forward-looking resource assessments that combine spatial-empirical techniques with modeling can help us understand these trends and evaluate policy design choices to improve sustainability outcomes.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
I am looking forward to networking, collaborating and most importantly contributing to the existing knowledge on climate change.


Courtney Hotchkiss
2nd year PhD student in the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management
Advisor: Dr. Erin Seekamp

Where are you from?
Upstate New York

What do you study?
My research is with the National Park Service to develop a framework to be used to help guide climate change adaptation planning for archaeological sites at national parks. My focus in this project is on determining site significance and to assist with guidance on how to incorporate Tribal values into the framework.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
I’m really looking forward to working with and learning from the cohort and from the specialists at the SE CASC. I look forward to learning different approaches and strategies for adapting to climate change impacts and how local and traditional stakeholders are involved in that decision making, as well as the data used to guide those decisions. Everything I learn will help me be a better student, scientist and advocate for climate science!


Melody Hunter-Pillion
4th year PhD student in the Department of History
Advisor: Dr. Blair Kelley

Where are you from?
Laurinburg, NC

What do you study?
I examine oral narratives and traditions in coastal North Carolina and Caribbean communities of color to learn what lessons of resiliency might be offered as communities face the impacts of climate change. Though dwindling in numbers, farmers and fishermen in historic heritage industries have maintained thematic narratives–emphasizing independence, landownership, cultivation prowess, and intimate knowledge of their local environments–that create resilience strategies.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow?
As a humanities scholar, during my year as a Global Change Fellow, I am most looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues who have backgrounds in the sciences. Working with scholars outside of my discipline opens avenues for thinking about my humanities-based work in new and exciting ways. My cohort of Global Change Fellows will give me an accessible and comfortable base for deeper understanding in academic disciplines where I may usually feel out of my element, but where humanities work is essential in our changing environment. So, I look forward to belonging and to embracing challenges that make my work stronger.


Stephanie Kelly
Dual Master’s student in the Departments of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Marine, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Advisor: Dr. Gavin Smith

Where are you from?
Raleigh, North Carolina

What do you study?
My research focuses on an interdisciplinary approach to ecosystem service and resilient site design strategies, alongside broader planning and policy initiatives, with an emphasis on coastal communities. This work is rooted in a high-level understanding of climate change dynamics and literacy, along with my professional experience as a landscape architect.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
I am super excited to completely immerse myself in an applied experience, with the support of the SE Climate Adaptation Center, and to synergize with an interdisciplinary consortium of exemplary global change agents.


Ben Makhlouf
1st year PhD student in the Department of Biology
Advisor: Dr. Brad Taylor

Where are you from?
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What do you study?
I’m an aquatic ecologist studying how climate induced changes in phenology of invertebrate communities influence growth, reproduction, and distribution of salmonid populations.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
As a Global Change Fellow, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work and interact with a group of interdisciplinary thinkers to approach challenging questions related to climate change.


Alexandria Nelson
1st year PhD student in the Department Applied Ecology
Advisor: Dr. Skylar Hopkins

Where are you from?
San Diego, California

What do you study?
For my doctoral research I will explore how climate change and other global change drivers affect broadscale parasite biodiversity patterns in North Carolina. I will assess how host and parasite assemblages are changing over time and space by sampling first intermediate host snails and downstream amphibian, reptile, and bird hosts in protected, degraded, and restored aquatic habitats.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
I am most looking forward to exploring North Carolina with my fellow cohort members during the Field Intensive week.


Lauren D. Pharr
1st year PhD student in the Department of  Forestry and Environmental Resources 
Advisor: Dr. Caren Cooper and Dr. Christopher Moorman

Where are you from? 
Waxhaw, North Carolina

What do you study?
I seek to determine the relation between how increased population densities and altered behavior may produce density-dependent mortality in conjunction with climate change in the federally endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Through my research, I will be partnering with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other federal and state agencies.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
My research will be interdisciplinary and will focus across the broad realms of ecology, evolution, conservation, management, and policy. As a fellow, I will gain the opportunity to be a part of a cohort of peers within these same disciplines.


Andrew Shannon
1st year PhD student in the Center for Geospatial Analytics
Advisor: Dr. Robert Scheller

Where are you from?
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

What do you study?
I am joining the Dynamic Ecosystems & Landscapes Lab to use geospatial and remote sensing approaches for disturbance modeling with the goal of studying patterns of forest composition and restoration in the Southern Appalachians.

What are you most looking forward to during your year as a Global Change Fellow? 
I am looking forward to the collaborative, interdisciplinary learning that the incoming cohort will inspire. With the peer-to-peer mentorship, this fellowship will be a wonderful opportunity to develop relevant, actionable programming on climate and global change, while getting to work with federal, academic, and community partners across the Southeast region and beyond.