Coastal Management Fellow gains experience, continues career in Miami

October 1st, 2018 by

Indiana-Illinois Sea Grant (IISG) is part of a national network that leads, manages and coordinates a variety of initiatives, including interviewing and selecting fellows for the NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship Program (CMF). Monica Gregory was nominated to the NOAA CMF program by IISG while completing her Public Affairs in Environmental Policy master’s program at Indiana University-Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. During the final selection process, Gregory was matched with the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management.

Monica Gregory (center) works with staff and residents in Edenton, North Carolina in 2018.

Gregory moved to Beaufort, North Carolina shortly after obtaining her MPA. Over the course of her two-year fellowship, she worked on local-scale vulnerability assessments with government officials and community members across the coastline, from Pine Knoll Shores to the northern Outer Banks. Gregory’s work with the Division of Coastal Management created a pathway to more comprehensive state-level guidance on adaptation planning in the face of sea level rise, increased flood risk and other hazards related to climate change. Her time with the fellowship program honed many of her professional skills, including public meeting facilitation, survey design and research, vulnerability assessment design, GIS knowledge and intergovernmental coordination.

As her fellowship came to a close, Gregory accepted a position working on resilience and sea level rise adaptation for Miami-Dade County, Florida. She now works in the Office of Resilience in Miami to coordinate research between County departments, universities and consultants on a variety of systems impacted by current and future sea level rise, including infrastructure, natural systems and the economy. She is also working on projects related to the upcoming Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Greater Miami and the Beaches resilience strategy, which takes a holistic view of community resilience by identifying the shocks and stresses experienced by the region, from sea level rise and flooding to poverty and economic opportunity. Her skillset from Indiana University’s MPA program combined with her past experience working on sea level rise and community resilience through the NOAA CMF program were crucial to her professional development.


A personal note from Monica Gregory: “I was very fortunate to work with many capable, passionate people at the Division of Coastal Management and within local communities around North Carolina: Pine Knoll Shores, Oriental, Edenton, Duck and Hatteras Village. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, my thoughts are with the communities and people I worked with for two years, as well as all communities across the Carolinas, as they assess the damage wrought by the storm and seek a resilient path forward.”

Learn more about our fellowship opportunities online, or contact Angie Archer at (765)496-3722,


NOAA fellow finding career and home in North Carolina

July 27th, 2017 by

One year has passed for Monica Gregory, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s first NOAA Coastal Management Fellow. We caught up with her to hear about her first year. Monica will be finishing her two-year fellowship in July 2018. Stay tuned for her final installment.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since I was selected as a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow (CMF) for North Carolina. I remember receiving the email invitation to interview for the project; I was thrilled (and nervous!) for the opportunity to fly to Charleston and meet potential employers. I was lucky enough to connect with the project in North Carolina, and here I am!

My office is with the Division of Coastal Management in Morehead City. I am halfway through my main project on community resilience planning. I am working with five pilot communities in North Carolina to map their social and physical vulnerabilities to coastal hazards. I have completed my work with town managers and planners to map their towns. This fall, I will be facilitating workshops and public meetings for resident input.

We hope to use the maps to identify priority areas for resilience work, then create a comprehensive list of resilience projects that could be feasible for each town depending on their unique circumstances. The overall idea is to create a larger framework guide on resilience planning for coastal communities in North Carolina. Our five case studies will be references for communities that are experiencing similar issues.

Monica Gregory

Monica (left) and DCM planner Rachel Love-Adrick mapping Town of Edenton’s vulnerabilities

August marks my one year anniversary as a CMF. In that time, I have had the chance to dig into my project, to learn all about the field of resilience and hazard mitigation, and to meet inspiring people in local government, as well as NOAA and The Nature Conservancy, to name a few.

I have used my skills in research, survey design, and community engagement. I have improved essential skills like networking, public speaking, and partnership-building. I have traveled around the south and southeast to attend conferences on topics from climate change adaptation to technology in coastal management. Most of all, I have found a new home in North Carolina, and I have fallen even more in love with the Southeast region.”

barrier island

Barrier islands shortly after Hurricane Matthew


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