2011 California Sea Grant State Fellows Announced

Caitlin Coomber

California Sea Grant is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of California Sea Grant State Fellowships.

Each of the seven fellows will receive a $2,833 monthly stipend for up to 12 months to intern at a host agency in California involved with marine policy and resource management.

Among this year’s hosts are the California Ocean Protection Council, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center, and California Natural Resources Agency.

The fellows, their host agencies and brief descriptions of their fellowship assignments follow:

Carlos Mireles
NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center

Carlos Mireles will spend his fellowship interning at NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center in Monterey. His primary tasks will be to support staff in updating and enhancing the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Inventory – a spatial GIS database that catalogs detailed information related to the ecology and status of all MPAs within U.S. waters. He will assist in updating and summarizing this database, with information on the resources within the protected areas, the extent and nature of monitoring efforts, and management and enforcement.

Mireles earned his master’s degree in biology from CSU Long Beach in May 2010. He also received the 2010 Kenneth L. Johnson Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis in Life Sciences from the College of Science and Mathematics.


Isaac Pearlman
California Department of Parks and Recreation

As a State Fellow with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Isaac Pearlman will help its Natural Resources division identify climate change adaptation strategies to protect the habitats and species living in the state’s parks. His work will primarily focus on coastal and marine parks.

Prior to this fellowship, Pearlman received his master’s degree in environmental science and management from UC Santa Barbara. In his last year at Santa Barbara, he worked as a graduate intern in the Environmental Defense Center, a nonprofit law firm in Santa Barbara. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru from 2005 to 2007.

Shannon Yee
California Natural Resources Agency

As a State Fellow with the California Natural Resources Agency, Shannon Yee will assess the coordination of California’s ocean resource managers to ensure that coastal and marine environments are being conserved in line with state objectives. She will act as a liaison between on-the-ground managers and state legislators in Sacramento. Yee said she hopes to foster key partnerships and encourage open dialogues leading to laws and policies that are practical, realistic and enforceable.

Yee received her master’s in marine biodiversity and conservation from UC San Diego. She has held a number of research positions, including an internship at Georgia Sea Grant while an undergraduate.


Sarah Flores
California Ocean Protection Council
Sarah Flores is a State Fellow with the California Ocean Protection Council, which was established to promote the sustainable management of the state’s marine and coastal resources. Broadly, as support staff, Flores will assist with agenda setting, policy recommendations and project development, consistent with the council’s overarching mission. She will also foster and maintain positive communication among stakeholders, partners and grantees. In particular, she is very excited to assist the council in developing the forthcoming five-year strategic plan.

Flores is near completion of her master’s degree in geology from UC Davis for her work on reconstructing the paleo-environment of Tomales Bay and relating major environmental changes reflected in the sediment record to anthropogenic events in the bay.

Oren Frey
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Oren Frey is a State Fellow with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s research team.  As part of the sanctuary's ecosystem-based management initiative, he will collaborate with scientists, resource managers and other stakeholders to help develop criteria for identifying unique and rare places deserving special federal protection.  Frey also plans to develop a “threats assessment” to the resources at the sanctuary's new Davidson Seamount management zone. He says he looks forward to assisting with at-sea research, and hopes to study some of the socioeconomic impacts of the sanctuary’s marine protected areas.

Frey is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international environmental policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. His most recent internship was with the Surfrider Foundation in Monterey.

Kristen Hislop
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
Kristen Hislop is a State Fellow with Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in Santa Barbara. As a fellow, she will work on implementing management strategies to reduce ship strikes of endangered whales in the Santa Barbara Channel and will be involved with various aspects of the area’s marine protected areas, including socioeconomic studies, education and enforcement. In addition, she will work closely with community members on various resource management issues though her involvement with the Sanctuary Advisory Council.

Hislop holds her master’s degree in environmental science and management from UC Santa Barbara. She previously served as an environmental advocacy intern at the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara and has also worked as a research diver for the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans.

Aaron McGregor
California Ocean Science Trust

During his fellowship at the California Ocean Science Trust, Aaron McGregor will focus on translating ocean science to better inform and shape marine management and policy. In particular, he will be a project lead on ocean and coastal projects evaluating the land-sea interface, climate adaptation and ecosystem mapping.

McGregor received his master’s in urban planning with a specialization on environmental analysis and policy from UCLA. He has served as an environmental economics researcher with the California Department of Boating and Waterways since 2007.

Written by Rebecca Buddingh