Science Policy Fellowship

43720022162_cd5c0448df_o.jpg

I am excited to finally be able to announce that I will be joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Lafayette, LA as a Science Policy Fellow through the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program! In this position, I will be assisting in coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. I’m super excited to start this new journey and career! I really like this little write up that FIU did about me receiving the fellowship, and am excited that my colleague, Dr. Shelby Servais, also received this same Fellowship!

Advertisements

2017 ESA Lucy Braun Award

This is some crazy news, not only because I won it, but because it took them 10 months to tell me that I did. I am happy to announce that I won the 2017 Ecological Society of America’s Lucy Braun award for best student poster at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon (all the way back in August 2017). There is always so much amazing student research that gets presented at these conferences, to be honored with this award is truly a highlight of my scientific career. I will be so giddy when I accept the award at the 2018 ESA Annual Meeting in New Orleans this August.

This research highlighted my work on saltwater intrusion into the Everglades, specifically how a stress (salt) and subsidy (Phosphorus) respond in tandem to affect marsh ecosystem processes. This manuscript is currently in review, and I will hopefully have some neat things to share soon in the future. You can read the press release and a little write up about the work here: https://www.esa.org/esa/esa-announces-the-recipients-of-the-2017-student-awards/

Until then, here is a #tbt me presenting the poster last August!

DGqiiSKUAAAEfkR (1)

1st Place Poster at the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER Meeting

IMG_1221

Yesterday, I got to celebrate my birthday by presenting my research on peat collapse in coastal wetlands at the 2018 FCE LTER All Scientists Meeting at the beautiful Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Miami, FL. My poster was awarded 1st place! What a great birthday present to get, and so humbled by the response to my Ph.D. research. At the same time, this is a bittersweet moment as my last presentation ever as a student. But excited about what’s coming next. Stay tuned for some exciting news at the end of the month!

Dissertation Zine now available

Graduate students are forced to translate years of research into a bulky, impersonal thesis or dissertation. While this feels rewarding when complete, in reality, very few people will read it, and even less will understand it and grasp the main conclusions of the research. I set out to change this by producing a “Zine” of my dissertation research. Full of pictures and with each chapter distilled down to only a few hundred words, I hope that this makes my research findings more accessible to everyone. Enjoy!

http://students.fiu.edu/~bwils034/Zine/

1_title

Dissertation: Defended

I can’t believe this day has finally come. On March 23, 2018, I presented my research findings to my colleagues, peers, and the public. My dissertation work has been incredibly well received, including winning FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Education’s “Best Dissertation” award. I will be posting a lot more about my research and the results I found in the next couple of weeks (now that I actually have some more time to do so!). Stay Tuned!

NSF DDIG AWARD!

I was excited today to receive a call informing me that, after the dozens of fellowships and grants I’ve been applying for over the years, I’ve finally received one of great significance! This National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant will allow me to investigate interesting responses I’ve seen with saltwater intrusion and drought in the brackish marshes of the Everglades. The exact details of the award and my final chapter can be found here.

 

First Field Restoration Event!

After 3 months of workshops and training with the Frost Science Museum here in Miami, it was finally time for my first official event as Science Communication Fellow with the Museum. Our task for the next 6 months was to share our scientific knowledge with school groups and volunteers during specific coastal restoration events. The site we are restoring is located on Virginia Key, an artificial island created during the dredging of Port Miami.

2015-01-10 11.46.26 HDR

The Museum has planted sea oats, a vegetation with an extensive root system that holds together sand dunes and prevents them from eroding during storms, protecting the interior land. As you can see above, they are still very young.

2015-02-14 11.41.46

Today, we had a group of Upward Bound middle school students come out. Their job was to remove invasive seedlings that might impede sea oat growth and to pick up trash washed in by the tide. My job was to teach them about the importance of the restoration project and about the endemic species that will utilize this habitat.

2015-01-10 10.57.29 HDR

Overall, the students were eager to learn and be engaged, and you can’t beat Miami in January.

About Me

IMG_4375Thanks for visiting my site! I’m currently a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Tiffany Troxler’s lab at Florida International University in Miami, FL and a graduate student within the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER network. My work revolves around investigating biogeochemical cycling, plant physiology, and carbon processing in coastal wetlands, with a particular interest in how marsh functioning responds to saltwater intrusion.

My other interests include effective science communication and policy. I was able to hone my communication skills during a year-long stint as a Science Communication Fellow with the Phillip and Patricia Frost Science Museum in Miami in which I got to teach middle schoolers and volunteers on the importance of coastal restoration.

Feel free to explore my site or ask me any questions. Cheers!