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Nicole has many different roles at SESYNC, ranging from leading the Center's food and agriculture-related research themes (Socio-Environmental Dimensions of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus and Environmental Outcomes and Food Systems) to running SESYNC’s Graduate Student Research Program. SESYNC's Graduate Student Research Program is a first-of-its-kind synthesis education and training opportunity in which graduate students from across the globe and a variety of disciplinary backgrounds come together for workshops and to conduct independent, team-based, socio-environmental synthesis research. In this capacity, Nicole closely coaches and facilitates graduate student research teams and draws from these interactions to empirically test the effects of providing a genuine, team-based research experience for graduate students seeking to build interdisciplinary research capacities. When she is not focusing on early career researchers and helping to shape the next generation of science, Nicole also serves as a Co-PI for several interdisciplinary research grants awarded to SESYNC, including a 2018 award from the National Science Foundation's Engineering Directorate and a project supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's Marine Conservation Initative in 2019 ("Does Ocean Planning Deliver Socio-Ecological Benefits Relevant to the Sustainable Use of Ocean Ecosystems?”). Her involvement at the Center further extends to several other research endeavors focused on the role of qualitative data in accelerating synthesis research and on evaluating the outcomes and products of interdisciplinary research in a standardized and transparent way. For this work, Nicole was awarded a Spring 2019 Visiting Fellowship at Michigan State University's Center for Interdisciplinarity (C4I).
Nicole received her doctorate in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017. Her strongly interdisciplinary and mixed methods background ranges from assessing the effects of nature-based tourism on poverty and inequality in southern Africa, to investigating how food system regionalization shapes rural development processes and sheds light on gendered agricultural dynamics in the Rocky Mountain West, to surveying trees on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and mapping water quality and invasive species in Florida’s Everglades.