GSO MO student Sean Duffey wins NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship

sean_duffey-293x300-293x300Sean Duffey, URI master’s of oceanography (MO) candidate, has been awarded a 2017 NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship. Duffey was one of only five students selected nationally for the fellowship, out of 44 applicants from around the country.

Duffey, a Watervliet, N.Y., native, will spend two years working in the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management on a project to protect critical ecosystem services by prioritizing at-risk habitats to improve their management.

Duffey gained experience in assessing coastal habitats as an intern at the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), where he used various tools to determine which salt marshes in southern Rhode Island would be the best candidates for restoration. This internship led to his interest in coastal management at the state level.

“What I would like to do in this position is continue to pursue my passion for coastal zone management that I developed through my time with CRMC,” Duffey says, “I’m excited for the opportunity to stay here in the Northeast, where I believe a lot of good work is being done in the fields of coastal resiliency and management, and I am excited to get working on the issues of coastal management facing the state of Massachusetts.”

“We at CRMC are very excited for Sean,” says Caitlin Chaffee, CRMC policy analyst. “During his internship, he worked hard and showed a genuine interest in learning all he could about coastal management. This is a fantastic opportunity that is well deserved.”

Duffey was one of 12 national finalists for this competitive fellowship, which awarded five fellowships at coastal zone management agencies along the East Coast and in Oregon. He will receive his master’s of oceanography and a graduate certificate in GIS and remote sensing from URI on May 20.

“Sean’s academic background in oceanography and GIS combined with his hands-on experience at CRMC made him an ideal candidate for the Coastal Management Fellowship,” says Alan Desbonnet, assistant director for Rhode Island Sea Grant, which managed the state-level competition, “We’re very pleased he was selected and wish him the best.”

The Coastal Management Fellowship was established to provide on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resources management and policy for postgraduate students. It matches students with state coastal resources agencies to work on projects proposed by the state and selected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management. More information is online at

—Article by Meredith Haas, Rhode Island Sea Grant