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Samantha F

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at East Carolina University


Marine biology, conservation biology, and international development


Sam specializes is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist that focuses on addressing complex environmental problems and has experience in Nepal, Portugal, Italy, and Madagascar. As an undergrad, she double majored in International Studies and Marine Biology. Later, she earned a Master of Marine and Environmental Affairs where she worked in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She has won prestigious awards such as the U.S. Fulbright Student Award and the Foreign Langue and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. Sam has published a number of articles on environmental topics--both in peer-reviewed journals and for broader audiences. Sam is currently studying a PhD focused on food security and fisheries at East Carolina University. When Sam is not thinking of the environment, she enjoys relaxing through jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, or watching Bob's Burgers.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Do protected areas work? Exploring long term species abundence before and after the implementation of a protected area.

Using fish data from the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Program, calculate biodiversity in an area of the Caribbean where a marine protected area was established. Does biodiversity increase after the implementation of the protected area?

Are mangrove restoration efforts effective? Measuring the long-term impacts of restoration efforts.

The re-planting of mangrove habitats have been a popular tool in habitat restoration. However, emerging research shows that many of these restoration efforts don't last. Using satellite imagery, measure the growth (or decline) of a site where a large-scale mangrove restoration operation occurred.

Coding skills

R, Matlab

Languages I know

French, intermediate

Teaching experience

I have led high school study abroad trips to Bonaire and Portugal focused on marine conservation Acted as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Washington for a general biology. Previously worked as an Extracurricular Activities and College Application mentor for Crimson Education where I helped students develop mini-research projects or create strong application essays


Work experience

National Park Service (2020 - 2021)
GIS Intern
USAID (2021 - Current)
Resilience Intern
Blue Ventures Conservation Madagascar (2019 - 2019)
Fulbright Student Awardee
UN FAO (2018 - 2018)
Protected Areas Intern


University of North Carolina at Wilmington
BS Bachelor of Science (2016)
Marine Biology
University of Washington
MS Master of Science (2019)
Marine and Environmental Affairs
East Carolina University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Integrated Coastal Sciences

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