Welcome to Our New Southeast CASC Staff

The Southeast CASC team is growing! We are excited to announce three new members of our staff and look forward to working with them over the coming months. Please join us in welcoming our new Science Coordinator, Tribal Climate Strategies Research Scholar, and Student Intern.

Dr. Jennifer Cartwright is the new Science Coordinator at the Southeast CASC. Jennifer is an ecologist with a background in GIS and hydrology and a focus on supporting effective natural-resource management. Her research has concentrated on climate-change impacts on a variety of terrestrial, wetland, and freshwater ecosystems across North America. Jen has overseen studies of forest drought impacts on local-to-regional scales, modeling of wetland ecohydrology leveraging remote sensing and field observations, identification of refugia from climate change, and assessments of climate impacts to at-risk ecosystems and species. She has been affiliated with the USGS Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center since 2009 and received her Ph.D. in Biology from Tennessee State University in 2014.


Dr. Marie Schaefer is the new Tribal Climate Strategies Research Scholar at the Southeast CASC. Marie brings a unique perspective to the center as a transdisciplinary scientist whose work focuses on how collaborations between Indigenous knowledges and scientific knowledges can contribute to sustainable futures. She has over a decade of experience working with Tribal nations across the U.S. on a wide range of climate change research projects and is of Anishinaabe (Odawa) and European settler descent. As the Tribal Climate Strategies Research Scholar, Marie will develop and conduct climate change research with Tribal nations across the Southeast CASC region. Marie is a founding member and now Advisory Council member of the Northeast Indigenous Climate Resilience Network, which convenes Indigenous nations and partners to engage in climate adaptation planning and action. Marie received a Ph.D. in Community Sustainability from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts in Applied Cultural Anthropology Northern Arizona University where she worked for the Hopi Tribe’s Hopi Cultural Preservation Office.


Kristen Fontana is the new Student Intern at the Southeast CASC. Kristen will primarily be assisting in the preparation, execution, and review of the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center’s 2022 Regional Science Symposium. Currently, Kristen is a graduate student in the Climate Change and Society program at NC State University. Her capstone project will be based on this internship experience in terms of symposium planning and climate science communication. With her undergraduate studies in Natural Resources and minor in Environmental Sciences, Kristen acquired the appropriate knowledge on the environment to understand natural processes and their interactions with anthropogenic activity. Additionally, her graduate classes in climate change fundamentals, natural resource policy, and communications classes, provided her with a solid background in the evidence/impacts of a changing climate, the policy needed to address such changes, and the ways to relay this information to the public. Her work with the North Carolina Forestry Association and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science at Whiteville have taught her how to be an effective communicator for various stakeholders through social media posts.