Through innovative education of talented graduate, undergraduate, and high school students, the I/UCRCs are providing the next generation of scientists with a broad, industrially oriented perspective on research and management practices.

SCEMFIS Funded Students

Kathleen Hemeon: graduate student at the USM Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Kathleen is a PhD graduate student with Dr. Eric Powell. Kathleen has earned a BS degree from Western Washington University and a MS degree from James Madison University. Kathleen joins GCRL from the west coast after working for several years as a U.S. Forest Service fisheries team lead and as a green sturgeon research technician with the University of California Santa Cruz/NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Past experience as a fisheries team lead included the monitoring, protection and restoration of federally listed aquatic populations and their habitat in parallel with local management directives. Green sturgeon research included estimating spawning run sizes for the federally threatened green sturgeon (southern DPS) in the Sacramento River using Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar. Current work with Dr. Powell and SCEMFIS collaborators will include the continued investigation of Mid-Atlantic ocean quahog population dynamics through the generation of an age-frequency probability distribution and applying this distribution to ocean quahog stock projections.
Personal research page

Alexis Hollander: graduate student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, Virginia.

Alexis is a Master’s Student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Dr. Roger Mann’s Molluscan Ecology Lab. For her Master’s research, Alexis is investigating the impacts of climate change on the growth and distribution of Atlantic surfclams (
Spisula solidissima). The moving footprint of the range of exploited surfclams in these regions over the past four decades is now well documented in both North East Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) stock assessment surveys and the gradual northeasterly movement of harvest activity. This project is developing a 33-year retrospective, spatially explicit time series of growth rates in surfclams collected over the surveyed range to both document the moving footprint in terms of population productivity and provide an explicit forward projection of future productivity. Alexis has a career goal of serving as an educator and mentor to college students. – Personal research page

Alyssa LeClaire: graduate student at the USM Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Alyssa is a Masters student in Dr. Eric Powell’s Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Research Lab (GCRL). Alyssa received her BS in Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. Working in collaboration with Virginia Institute of Marine Science, her work at GCRL includes collecting C14 samples from shells of
Arctica islandica (Ocean Quahog) as a means to determine the time scale of the quahogs range shift across the Mid-Atlantic continental shelf coinciding with historical climate events. 

Laura Solinger: graduate student at the USM Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Laura’s work focuses on developing a risk-based approach to assess the effectiveness of different fisheries management strategies, including summer flounder and Atlantic surfclam. Laura was awarded an NSF non-academic internship to collaborate with the stock assessment lead for Atlantic surfclam, Dr. Daniel Hennen, at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.  She has also collaborated on projects for management of gulf oysters, abalone disease transmission, and forecasts of clam fisheries given projected offshore windmill construction. Laura received her BS in Biology with a focus on Marine Science from the University of South Florida, and is currently finishing her MS in Fisheries Biology with Humboldt State University. After her PhD, Laura hopes to work with fisheries organizations to develop stock assessment models, assess their effectiveness and continue advancements to incorporate new data sources and environmental variables into models.

Jill Sower: graduate student at the USM Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Jill is a second year Master’s student at the Gulf Coast Research Lab. Her work at GCRL focuses on examining population dynamics for ocean quahogs off the coast of New Jersey in comparison to different quahog populations from along the coast of New England. Jill received a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and a B.A. in Spanish from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. She hopes to graduate in Spring 2022, and after finishing her degree, she would like to continue working in a research position at a coastal university along the East Coast.