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NC Scholars Embark on Coastal Management Fellowships


Rhett Register, 919/515-1092,

Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2014

 Kimberly Hernandez
NOAA Coastal Fellow Kimberly Hernandez works with Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service.

Kim Hernandez and Amanda Santoni recently began two-year positions as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Management Fellows.

Managed by the NOAA Coastal Services Center, the fellowship offers on-the-job training for postgraduate students in coastal resource management and policy. Candidates are matched with state coastal zone programs similar to the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, to work on select projects chosen by NOAA. North Carolina Sea Grant recruits and nominates candidates for our state.

Hernandez, a native of Kansas, works with Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service helping to improve how stakeholder feedback is considered and data are used in decision making and policy development in Maryland.

“I will be helping coordinate public listening sessions to gather stakeholder feedback on offshore energy lease sales,” Hernandez says.

She also anticipates working on developing a National Marine Sanctuary nomination and on Maryland’s Coastal Atlas project.

Hernandez received a Master of Environmental Management in coastal environmental management and geospatial analysis from Duke University. In addition, she holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and international studies from the University of Kansas.

Amanda Santoni
NOAA Coastal Fellow Amanda Santoni works with Delaware’s Coastal Management Program.

Santoni works with Delaware’s Coastal Management Program quantifying the economic value of Delaware’s tidal wetlands. “With the way today’s funding situation is, wetlands are competing with a lot of different issues,” she says. The Maryland native assists with wetland protection and acquisition by identifying areas with specific characteristics based on the ecosystem services they provide.

Santoni received a Master of Environmental Management in coastal environmental management from Duke. In addition, she holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va.

Outgoing Coastal Management fellow, Nicole Carlozo, says her experience in 2012 to 2014 with Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service gave her the opportunity to delve into key coastal issues, including water quality, aquaculture and coastal habitats.

“I learned the value of communication when drawing on science and data to inform decision making,” she says. “The fellowship allowed me to better understand where my skill sets fit into the coastal management field, which will be invaluable as I figure out what’s next in store for me.”

Laura Flessner was a NOAA Digital Coast fellow in 2012 to 2014. She worked in Seattle on NOAA’s Digital Coast, a project that provides data sets, tools and training to coastal communities. The one-time fellowship was incorporated into the 2012 Coastal Management Fellowship interview process. A North Carolina Sea Grant nominee for the position, Flessner says that a highlight of her experience was presenting at a national conference for GIS professionals.

“It was an awesome experience to be able to represent the NOAA Digital Coast Partnership on such a huge stage among so many seasoned professionals in the field,” Flessner says.

For more information about the program, visit Or contact John Fear, deputy director, North Carolina Sea Grant College Program and Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina system, at 919-515-9104 or


North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast