At the Center of Negotiations on National Ballast Water Regulation, a W-M Alumna

by Katy Robinson Hall (S’84); edited by Meredith Carroll

From writing children’s books to conducting scientific research, the careers people pursue after Williams-Mystic are as varied as our more than 1,700 alumni. But if there’s one thing that unites many of these careers, it’s that alumni often find themselves uniquely equipped to advocate for the ocean at the intersection of science, policy, and politics.

Nicole Dobroski (F’96), who has found herself at the center of US Senate negotiations on national ballast water regulation, is the latest example of this shared theme.

It all started earlier this year, when the US Senate introduced the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) as part of the larger U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act. VIDA would consolidate federal regulation of ballast water and discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel with the USCG. The law would also preempt state regulation of those discharges.

Dobroski, who serves as the Assistant Chief of the Marine Environmental Protection Division of the California State Lands Commission, manages California’s marine invasive species program. Ever since VIDA was introduced, she’s been hard at work forging a consensus on amendments to the legislation. In true Williams-Mystic fashion, she’s working with a wide range of stakeholders, from the California Governor’s Office and US Senate Congressional staff to scientists at state agencies to shipping agency representatives. Her end goal: maintain state protection over unique state waters–and the invaluable ecosystems they contain–while shipping industry’s desire to reduce conflicting federal and state regulatory requirements.

The process is far from over; on Thursday, Dobroski called marine policy professor Katy Robinson Hall (S’84) in the midst of negotiating with the Senate over certain aspects of the Jones Act. But standing at the intersection of ecology, policy, and environmental change, Dobroski’s work attests to the enduring value of the interdisciplinary approach to the ocean that Williams-Mystic fosters.

 

Nicole Dobroski (F’96), also served as our Science T.A. from Spring 2001 through Spring 2005. She earned her B.A. in Biology from Pomona College and her M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Rhode Island. She is currently the Assistant Chief of the California State Lands Commission’s Marine Environmental Protection Division.

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Announcing the Dates for Our 40th Reunion

Alumni, mark your calendars! Williams-Mystic’s 40th annual alumni weekend will take place September 15-17, 2017. We’ll be mailing and emailing invitations later this summer; we’ll also make a sign-up link available at that time. In the meantime, we recommend practicing your whaleboat rowing form, brushing up on your Williams-Mystic trivia, and getting excited for our biggest reunion yet.

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Chanteys with Spring 2017!

Whether you’re forging a hook in the shipsmithing shop or climbing the rigging of the Charles W. Morgan as part of Mystic Seaport’s demonstration squad, maritime skills are an integral part of life here in Mystic. Beyond being a one-of-a-kind break from academics, maritime skills involve students in the day-to-day workings of our Mystic Seaport campus–and give them a firsthand experience of maritime traditions they can’t get anywhere else.

Enjoy this short excerpt from our Spring 2017 chantey singers, and check out the full performance here!

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From Tumbling Compost to Riding Bikes, How Williams-Mystic Students Live Sustainably

How do you make community living at Williams-Mystic more eco-friendly? Our student-led Sustainability Council has some answers in their new video, which they developed to introduce future students to sustainable living.

Students drive the Sustainability Council’s initiatives, which include composting, adopting reusable grocery bags, and installing energy use monitors in Williams-Mystic offices and student housing. Sustainability is already implicit in our curriculum; it’s impossible to study the ocean and not confront issues such as microplastic pollution, sea level rise, and climate change. But by implementing practices like the ones in this video, students hope to demonstrate that even small alterations to routines or mindsets can change the environment for the better.

Check out this video to learn more about their initiatives (and catch some glimpses of our campus)!

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Announcing the winner of the 2016 Ocean Essay Contest

For immediate release:

December 1, 2016

The 2016 Williams College-Mystic Seaport Ocean Essay Contest in honor of Joseph Conrad, after receiving a record-breaking number of entries from well over 70 high schools, colleges, and universities, has awarded first prize to Simon Ladner of Ocean Springs High School, Mississippi, for his entry “The Sound.”

Guest judge T. Scott McMillin of Oberlin College and author of The Meaning of Rivers, wrote of Simon’s entry:

“Ladner’s evocative piece, dwelling on what is “not exactly the ocean,” combines detailed observation, colorful metaphor, and personal reflection on the ever-changing nature of the Gulf Coast. The result is a short, sweetly shifting account of the sea’s work in a world constantly under construction, valuable in its own right and meaningful to those who will take the time to care.”

Simon Ladner is a high school senior in the small coastal town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. He enjoys writing essays, poetry, and fiction, and he spends his free time practicing piano, singing in the local choir, and spending copious amounts of time at his favorite coffee shop. Simon will receive a $400 prize and guest passes to the Mystic Seaport.

Two honorable mentions were also selected: Heriberto Coronado of Johnny Economedes High School for his short story, “The Sailor,” and Zaria Glenn of Ardrey Kell High School for her piece, “The Devil’s Water.”

***

Williams-Mystic, the country’s premiere maritime studies program, is the sponsoring entity for this contest and award. This world-renowned accredited study away semester hosts students from around the world with a rigorous curriculum that is based on an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary hands-on course of study focused on the world’s oceans and coastlines. Together, students of all majors study the history, literature, policy and science of our oceans and coastlines.

For more information about Williams-Mystic:

http://mystic.williams.edu/

For more information on the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Ocean Essay Contest, please visit our contest site.

Mauro Diaz-Hernandez, Assistant Director of Admissions and Director of Enrollment, [email protected]

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Alumni Weekend 2016: Panels, Pub Quizzes, and More!

Join us this September 16-18 for our 39th Annual Alumni Weekend! Events include whaleboat races, children’s activities, a scholarship silent auction, and much more.

North CA lect spot

We are especially excited to welcome four alumni for this year’s panel: “The Future of Our Coasts.” In addition to moderator Carrie Selberg F95 of NOAA Fisheries, the panelists include:

Alanna Casey F09, University of Rhode Island

Alanna’s research uses qualitative and interpretive humanities methods to assess the changing uses and meanings of historical and cultural resources such as historic forts, ships, and archaeological sites in climate change planning.

Betsy Nicholson S94, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As North Regional Director, Betsy Nicholson addresses ocean and coastal management issues across the Great Lakes and North Atlantic. Based in Gloucester, MA, she works collaboratively with government and other partners to advance coordinated ocean management through the development of regional ocean plans, and to promote strategies for improving resilience of coastal community in the face of a changing climate.

Cary White F10, The Nature Conservancy

Cary uses his landscape design background to conceptualize nature-based approaches to protect people, property, and infrastructure.  He is currently working on a community resilience visioning process with the municipalities of southeastern Connecticut.

Check out our full schedule below. And make sure to reserve your spot soon; the deadline for late registration is September 12 at 10 am!

Update: Registration for our 2017 Alumni Weekend will open in the late summer of 2017. Check our website for updates, keep an eye out for our mailed and emailed invitations, and mark your calendars for September 15-17.


Alumni Weekend 2016 

Friday, September 16

8-9:30 pm: Pub Trivia Night at the Carlton Marine Science Center

Saturday, September 17

9:30 am-5:30 pm: Registration at the Main Gate outside VRC

10 am-7 pm: Swag sales and general information at the tent outside the Boat Shed

10 am-4 pm: Get out on the water with a boat borrowed from the Boat House!

10 am-4 pm: Children’s activities (time varies per activity), including Games on the Green, Children’s Museum, Discovery Barn, and Toy Boat-Building

10 am-6 pm: Scholarship silent auction at the Boat Shed. All proceeds go directly toward student scholarships.

11:30 am-12:45 pm: Lunch at the Seaport Village Green, hosted by the Alumni Council

12:45-1:30 pm: Tour of campus with Maritime History Prof. Glenn Gordinier, departing from the gazebo at the Seaport Village Green

2-3 pm: Alumni panel on The Future of Our Coasts, at Greenmanville Church

3 pm: Whaleboat races at the Middle Wharf. Sign-up at registration required.

4-5 pm: Alumni Council Reception at the Carlton Lounge

4:30-5 pm: Reunion class photographs and reception at Spouter’s Tavern

5-6 pm: Alumni Swizzle at the Boat Shed

6-7 pm: Riverside dinner at the Boat Shed

7 pm: Program welcome and live auction at the Boat Shed

Sunday, September 18

9-10:30 am: Alumni breakfast at the Membership Patio (rain location: Boat Shed)

Student sailing F15

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Williams-Mystic Biannual Lecture Series welcomes Dr. Henry Art

Join us this Friday, April 8th at 2 PM in the Greenmanville Church at the Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, as Dr. Henry Art, the Rosenburg Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Williams College, presents “Dynamics of Fire Island (NY) Ecosystems.” All are welcome!

More information can be found on our Biannual Lecture 2016 flyer, or by contacting Professor Michael Nishizaki at: 206-310-7585

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2015 Williams College – Mystic Seaport Ocean Essay Contest Award Winners Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JANUARY 28, 2016

Impressive prose from Colby College senior suggests great things to come from its author. The first prize for the 2015 Williams College – Mystic Seaport Ocean Essay Contest in honor of Joseph Conrad has been awarded to Colby College senior, Chloe Geffken for her short story “In the Absence of a Telephone Ringing.” The contest awards the best essay of any genre with the ocean as the setting, open to any major. This year, we received more entries than ever before and the highest quality in the history of the prize, welcoming entries from well over 50 colleges, universities, and high schools.

This year’s guest judge for the contest was Dr. Edward D. Melillo, History and Environmental Studies professor from Amherst College. Reading blindly, he selected Ms. Geffken’s essay and wrote the following about her piece:

“This short story is a haunting account of a seaside community, swept up by a maritime tragedy. In this place where ‘news doesn’t happen,’ a child narrates an unfolding disaster. Although we never learn the particularities of this calamity, the author gives us its shadowy outlines: whispers, busy media crews, an empty mooring at the docks, a candlelight vigil along the shoreline. The story derives power not from grand rhetorical flourishes but from subtle touches, like the refrain that ocean water ‘is cold, even in July.’ This is an impressive piece of prose that suggests great things to come from its author.”

Chloe Geffken is from a small town in Midcoast Maine, a place that stays in her heart wherever she goes. She is in her last semester of studying Anthropology and Biology at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Ms. Geffken will receive an award of $500 and guest passes to the Mystic Seaport.

Two honorable mentions for this essay were also selected. They were awarded to Nikolas Oliver, an English major from Randolph College for “The Water Birth of Jay Gatsby” and McKayla Whitley who will be attending Arkansas Tech University for “Riding out the Wave.” Nikolas is an English major with an emphasis in Literature at Randolph College. He lives in Lynchburg, VA with his girlfriend and their three cats. McKayla attended J.D. Leftwich High School and spends most of her time hanging out with friends and family. She also loves to read.

Williams-Mystic, the country’s premiere maritime studies program, is the sponsoring entity for this contest and award. This world-renowned accredited study away semester hosts students from around the world with a rigorous curriculum that is based on an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary hands-on course of study focused on the world’s oceans and coastlines. Together, students of all majors study the history, literature, policy and science of our oceans and coastlines.

For more information about Williams-Mystic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7QAEOPD32s
https://vimeo.com/145317805
http://mystic.williams.edu/

For more information on the 2016 Ocean Essay Contest, please visit our contest site.

Thomas Van Winkle, Ph.D., Executive Director, [email protected]

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Cape Cod Fisheries Trust seeking Director

The Cape Cod Fisheries Trust (CCFT) Director oversees all aspects of the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust on behalf of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. The Cape Cod Fisheries Trust has become a national model for fishing community stability and growth through its ownership and management of a diverse portfolio of quota for high value seafood commodities, including scallops, clams, cod, haddock and flounder. The Director is responsible for leasing this quota to the local fleet to stimulate economic development and ensure long-term fleet profitability and environmental sustainability. The Director is also responsible for building the program and developing innovative solutions to advance the Trust’s mission to support sustainable fishing businesses.

For more information, please see the CCFT Director Job Description.

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