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Current Students

Anja Sjostrom is an interdisciplinary marine scientist with a background in fisheries ecology and the human dimensions of fisheries systems. She received a B.S. in marine science from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2013, an M.S. in Marine Resource Management from the College of Earth Ocean and Atmosphere Sciences at Oregon State University in 2019, and is currently a Ph.D. graduate research assistant in the Integrated Coastal Sciences program at East Carolina University. Anja is broadly interested in developing actionable tools to enhance the adaptive capacity of fisheries dependent communities in the facing climate change threats. Her master’s research focused on engaging local ecological knowledge to inform and enhance scientific and management understanding of a multi-species fishery along the Oregon coast. Her experiences working with both the human and ecological components of coastal areas with diverse stakeholder groups have motivated her to pursue more efficient integration frameworks that incorporate social and natural science methodologies.

Her current research seeks to overlay social-ecological systems frameworks, political ecology, and social network analysis with ecological modeling tools for stakeholders at the local and institutional level in sustaining vital natural resources. In particular, she hopes to apply these methods to international small-scale and commercial fisheries systems with varying levels of governance structure. When not combing through papers of following fisheries management council proceedings, Anja can be found soaking up the sun and salt in the Outer Banks, chasing snow, or finding new rocks to climb.

Kyra Hagge is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Integrated Coastal Sciences program at ECU. Having obtained her Bachelor’s degree in International Economics from Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, she continued to develop her understanding of larger-scale global environmental impacts, leading to a Master’s in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and another Master’s in Transition Management focusing on sustainable transportation in South-East Asia and the importance of non-monetary benefits of education. Her academic fields of interest continue to be pro-environmental behavior (environmental/conservation psychology, behavioral economics), social network analysis, coalition forming, and community behavior. She is currently developing a proposal, which is utilizing digital technology, mainly Virtual and Augmented Reality, for informal education of coastal communities on water-quality related issues. She believes that people who feel connected to their environment and have a fundamental understanding of how their actions influence the natural processes will make more environmentally friendly choices.

To encourage this deep embodied comprehension, she intends to create a narrative virtual reality experience using interactive 360-degree imagery and video. Additionally, she intends to bring a continued focus to outreach and public engagement to foster pro-environmental behavior and community cohesion throughout her research pursuits.

John Edward Sabin III

Currently in his second year of the ICS doctoral program, Johnnie has maintained diverse interests in both humanist and environmental sciences across both of his graduate programs. After finishing his M.S. in anthropology with an emphasis on submerged prehistory (FSU ’19), his exposure to the wide range of actors involved in land management and water governance shifted to attention to ongoing environmental conflicts in developed coastal regions. Johnnie’s research at ECU aims to chart out the human dimensions of ecosystem restoration in Florida’s Everglades. He desires to integrate environmental anthropology alongside land-use policy and spatial analysis to develop a more holistic framework for understanding the evolution of socio-ecological landscapes and its implications for sustainable wetland conservation and management.

The primary foci of his doctoral project are on land acquisition and wilderness perceptions regarding the East Coast Buffer, a contentious territory lying at the interface between the remnant Everglades ecosystem and the built environment of South Florida. The ultimate goal will be to bridge gaps in science communication for community members and to develop a means of reconciling with competing narratives for restoration of the total environment. When away from wetlands or his computer, Johnnie enjoys spending time exploring wilderness, volunteer diving for friends, and wakeboarding/kayaking across the Southeast.