Vandenberg, Jessica

Program: Ph.D., graduated 2020
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Scholar, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington

Biography: I am an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist interested in research questions pertaining to the intersections of human society and the environment. I implement multidisciplinary approaches and address research problems through a critical, solutions-oriented lens. I have worked on projects globally– undertaking remote independent field work and also working collaboratively with diverse interdisciplinary teams. Beyond my academic background, I have four years of collective experience in the not-for-profit and private sectors working on projects in environmental markets, international fisheries management, and marine conservation.

Currently my research is focused on understanding the uneven landscape of social and environmental burdens of ocean litter. I am particularly interested in how governance solutions either perpetuate these inequities (or create new ones). My work is driven by the larger goal of creating equitable ocean litter governance solutions.

What was the most memorable–or the most influential–course taken as a Marine Affairs student?
MAF500x is by far the most influential and interesting course I have ever taken. This course opened my world view and helped me to think more critically and holistically about my research. It also made me more cognizant of the colonial and problematic histories of science. The tools and knowledge I acquired through this course are things I believe any student undertaking a graduate degree in science would highly benefit from. I would even go as far as saying this course should be required if the department is committed to being an environment that promotes diversity, inclusion and equity.