Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Ashley Blacow: Influencing Policy Towards Ocean Conservation & Marine Protection


Ashley Blacow (MAIEP '08) attends the Governors' Global Climate Summit.

September 3, 2010

<h3>Oceana's "Pacific Policy and Communications Coordinator" shares how she created her own career path while studying at the Monterey Institute.</h3>

When possible, I tailored all of my courses, papers, and projects at the Monterey Institute to dive deeper into ocean conservation issues, such as the current threats our oceans face and marine resource management, and to identify the gaps in science and management that would help ensure the protection of marine ecosystem health. Much of my studies, including an internship at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, focused on Marine Protected Areas.

Before coming to Monterey, I studied Aquatic Biology as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Australia learning about their marine environment while diving in some of the most beautiful coral reefs. At that moment, I was confident I would pursue a career as a marine biologist.

After earning my Bachelor of Science, a minor in Professional Writing, and professional detours as an environmental planner and high school teacher, I realized that I could have a larger impact protecting, conserving, and more effectively managing our ocean resources through policy. That realization prompted me to enroll in the Institute's environmental policy program.

At Oceana, the largest international non-profit dedicated solely to ocean conservation, I am thrilled to influence policy that protects marine life and promotes sustainable uses of our coastal and ocean resources. Challenging, but exciting and stimulating, my position includes a cornucopia of tasks: engaging in California legislation to ensure marine resource protection (talking with legislatures and testifying at committee hearings), advocating for improved fisheries management, sharing Oceana’s work with the media, and building professional relationships with state agencies, scientists, other NGOs, and much more.

I am truly fortunate to be part of such an amazing organization and to work with incredibly creative and passionate people.

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