Discover Your Island

HRI Coastal Geoscientist Awarded Inaugural Fellowship

July 31, 2015

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Diana Del Angel, a Coastal Geoscientist with the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has been chosen as one of the inaugural recipients of the Gulf Research Program’s Science Policy Fellowships.

Del Angel, who currently works in HRI’s Coastal and Marine Geospatial Lab, received her master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2011 studying under HRI Geospatial Sciences Endowed Chair, Dr. Jim Gibeaut.

As one of four fellows chosen for the new program, Del Angel will spend a year working on coastal zone management projects with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee.

The Gulf Research Program’s Science Policy Fellowship is focused on developing leaders, and increasing the skill sets of graduate students and professionals working in sectors where science and public policy intersect. The fellows will spend a year on the staff of a state environmental agency and regional offices of relevant federal agencies in the Gulf region, and will be paired with a mentor when they arrive at their host offices. They will also have opportunities for professional development. Del Angel will receive an annual stipend of $55,000 for her work.

Del Angel said she’s excited to take her experience in coastal zone management to Florida, where she’ll be working in a new, diverse environment.

“Working with the Texas General Land Office on Coastal Zone Management projects has been really invigorating because it means making connections between science and policy, talking with people about their needs, and putting our scientific work into a broader perspective,” Del Angel said. “I’m excited for the opportunity and it will be interesting to see how other states are managing these programs.”

For her thesis research, Del Angel analyzed beach and dune dynamics on South Padre Island. Her research interests also include coastal processes, mapping and modeling of coastal environments, and impacts of climate change, sea level rise, and anthropogenic activity on coastal systems. Del Angel has previous experience in coastal zone management for the Texas General Land Office. Del Angel has also served on the City of Corpus Christi’s Water, Shore and Beach Advisory Committee, which helps to protect and manage local parks and beaches and improve public safety.

“Diana’s role at HRI has been instrumental in our efforts to provide and apply the best science for environmental management in the coastal zone,” Gibeaut said. “She has a unique set of skills and interests making her an excellent scientist and communicator. We will miss her here at HRI during the next year, but this is part of what it is all about: To get good, well-prepared people out there to help address environmental issues.”

The Gulf Research Program was created by the National Academy of Sciences after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill at the request of the federal government. Granted $500 million in spill settlement dollars, the program was tasked with funding research and development, education and training, and environmental monitoring activities after the spill. These competitive fellowship awards are among the initial suite of activities in the program’s 30-year mission to enhance oil system safety and the protection of human health and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. outer continental shelf regions.