Current Research Group

Emma Gee

Emma Gee is a PhD student in UCSC’s Environmental Studies department with a habit of bouncing between the San Francisco Bay and DC areas.  She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Stanford University, focusing on applications of AI and modeling to marine conservation.  Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked at Oceana analyzing issues related to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and transparency.  She is interested in issues tying together open ocean ecosystems, food sovereignty, environmental justice, and high seas fisheries.

Kevin Lunzalu

Kevin Lunzalu is a graduate fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying toward a Masters degree in Coastal Science & Policy. He has a deep interest in fostering inclusive and rights-based coastal resource governance. His capstone project seeks to co-create and realize community-focused transformative roadmaps for addressing the detrimental impact of plastic pollution on important coastal habitats and species. He is working to enhance the nesting success and survival rates of sea turtle hatchlings along Diani beach in Kenya, by significantly reducing the threat of marine debris to their nesting environments. Kevin is also the co-founder of the Kenyan Youth Biodiversity Network, a youth-led organization that seeks to elevate the voices of young people in conservation policy decisions and take informed conservation action. For more, see Kevin’s Twitter @Kev_Lunzalu

Crissy Pickett

Crissy has always felt at home on the coast, in a garden, or in a classroom. She attended UC Berkeley where she received a B.S. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. She also received a minor in Food Systems and a concentration in the Energy and Resources Group through her senior thesis on Community Choice Aggregation. After college she worked on youth environmental education, coastal planning for regional government, non profit coastal consulting, and coastal sediment research for UC Irvine. She is now a Ph.D. candidate in the Environmental Studies and Coastal Science and Policy departments at UC Santa Cruz. Her research addresses sea level rise, coastal adaptation, and social inequalities in exposure to environmental hazards.

Indiana Reid-Shaw

Indiana, or Indy, Reid-Shaw grew up along the Eno River in North Carolina, helping identify macroinvertebrates to assess water quality for a local non-profit. She became interested in social justice issues through campus engagement at Swarthmore College. There, she developed a special major in Environmental Anthropology, and minor in Biology, to better understand the complex interactions between humans and their environments. For her thesis, Indy carried out a study assessing resilience strategies undertaken by Mongolia’s livestock herders facing uncertainty with climate change and other social and environmental stressors. After college, Indy worked on carbon mitigation initiatives at non-profits in Boston and Santa Cruz. During her Ph.D., Indy hopes to incorporate ecological monitoring with qualitative surveys in communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.

Amanda Stoltz

Amanda is a marine social scientist who bridges the gap between science and society. After completing her Bachelor’s degree at Tulane University in English and marine biology, Amanda taught marine science at The Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in the Florida Keys. She went on to receive a Master of Science in Marine Ecosystems and Society at the University of Miami and she honed her skills while working as a fisheries anthropologist at NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center. She is currently a Graduate Student Researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Her research is focused on coastal resilience and the human dimensions of marine systems. For more see Amanda’s website and Twitter: @science_barbie

Olivia Won

Olivia Won (pronouns: she/her/hers) is an M.S. candidate in the Coastal Science and Policy Program. Originally from Oakland, California, Olivia is passionate about pursuing interdisciplinary stewardship approaches in California’s coastal areas. Her research focuses on assessing and advancing social equity considerations in nature-based climate change adaptation initiatives. 

Prior to starting graduate school, Olivia worked on a variety of socio-ecological restoration initiatives as a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar at the University of Washington and an intern with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, double majoring in Science in Society Program and Environmental Studies. 

Postdoctoral Scholars

Whitney Friedman

Whitney is an interdisciplinary marine scientist and quantitative ecologist working to inform effective and equitable conservation. Her research has spanned across multiple systems, from coral reef fisheries and social-ecological systems, to the dynamics of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, to the social and cognitive complexity of wild bottlenose dolphins. She is also a co-founder of the Thriving Oceans Collective. Twitter: @whit_friedman.

Research Group Alumni

Ashley Bae

Ashley‘s research focuses on the role of seafood in building a resilient food system. Specifically, she looks at resilience to seafood supply chain disruptions (e.g. COVID-19), circular economies, and consumption trends. Outside of her research, she is also the co-founder and CEO of Verdant Seas, a startup focused on designing and implementing fish-free aquaculture feeds. Prior to coming to UC Santa Cruz, Ashley worked on adaptation and resilience strategies at the World Bank, conducted product-level supply chain emissions analysis with CoClear and CDP, and helped plan the Global Climate Action Summit with the Office of the Governor of California. Ashley holds an M.A. in Climate & Society from Columbia University and a B.S. in Biology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. 

Tom Collinson

Tom Collinson was a 2020 Blum Scholar and completed a Masters in the Coastal Science and Policy program in 2021. For his Masters program, Tom worked with the Liberian Government, NGO partners, small-scale fishers, and local community leaders to research, co-design, and draft a management plan for Liberia’s burgeoning sea cucumber fishery. It will be the first national fisheries management plan for Liberia and the first for sea cucumbers in West Africa. Tom is now a Senior Advocacy Officer with Blue Ventures in the UK.

Melissa Cronin

Melissa Cronin completed a Ph.D. at UC Santa Cruz in 2022 studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her research focuses on mapping and mitigating marine fisheries bycatch, mainly looking at manta and devil ray bycatch in high seas tuna fisheries. She uses an interdisciplinary approach including genomics, spatial mapping, and policy analysis to study this problem and to develop feasible solutions. Previously, she was an environmental journalist covering climate, politics, and wildlife crime. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a National Geographic Explorer, a Switzer Environmental Fellow, and a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow.