Twenty-two University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, staff and faculty have traveled to Portland, Oregon, to attend the 27th Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), Nov. 12-16. Their participation was funded by four National Science Foundation (NSF) grants awarded to UVI to support individuals in science and technology engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Nineteen of these individuals presented at the conference. UVI undergraduate student Miranda Goad won third place among all undergraduate oral presentations for her talk entitled, “Analysis of animal activity within mangrove wetlands on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.” Goad participated in the Emerging Caribbean Scientists program at UVI and was mentored by Center for Marine and Environmental Studies faculty and staff: Kristin Wilson Grimes, Ph.D., Allie Durdall and Allison Hoelvoet.
The USVI contingent was joined by more than 30 other islanders from Puerto Rico and Guam who are part of the National Science Foundation including SEAS Islands Alliance and NSF Navigating Home projects.
The SEAS Islands Alliance supports individuals from historically marginalized and underrepresented groups in the geosciences by illuminating career pathways and increasing their sense of belonging in STEM by connecting them to each other and to other STEM professionals and mentors within and across island regions and beyond. The Navigating Home project supports islanders who seek to return to their home island’s STEM workforce.
“This year marked the greatest representation from U.S. islands’ territories in the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation’s history. It was really quite something to see the islands shine at this international meeting and to see our students and early career professionals share their research.
“Meetings like this one are an important networking and career development opportunity, and I am grateful for funding from the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that supported our participation,” said Dr. Kristin Wilson Grimes, research associate professor at UVI’s Center for Marine and Environmental Studies.
Anyone interested in learning more about the SEAS Islands Alliance or Navigating Home projects should contact SEAS Islands Alliance Coordinator Elisabeth Leerdam at email@example.com.