I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Covi, PhD. Michelle Covi is an assistant professor of practice at Old Dominion University in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a Virginia Sea Grant extension partner. She conducts research and outreach activities for climate adaptation and coastal resilience efforts for Virginia with an emphasis on Hampton Roads. Her research areas include sea level rise and resilience risk perception and communication, public participation in adaptation planning processes and engagement/outreach practices. She co-organizes the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise/Flooding Adaptation Forum, a quarterly meeting of adaptation stakeholders and served on the Governor’s Advisory Council for Environmental Justice. She has a PhD in Coastal Resources Management, and a Master’s degree in Marine Science.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I grew up in the city of Baltimore in an old neighborhood on the west side. My parents were in medical fields, but I was interested in the environment and spent a lot of my free time in the small patches of woods and ravines in my neighborhood.
Was there an “aha moment” or a specific trigger that made you decide you wanted to become a scientist or environmental leader? Can you share that story with us?
Yes, in high school we had a field trip with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to the marshes of the Chesapeake Bay. I had never been out into the salt marsh before and I loved what felt like a wild and natural part of our environment so close to the city. That same year, part of our biology class included a “plot lab” in which we collected data, temperature, soil samples, insects, etc. from a couple of square feet of woods nearby the school. I learned about the process of field collection, but also about the coastal place in which I lived. I knew I wanted to learn more and find ways to protect it.
Is there a lesson you can take out of your own story that can exemplify what can inspire a young person to become an environmental leader?Read more >