Highlighting Women in Coastal Sciences

By Mary Beth Bassett

During my career at the Galveston Park Board, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many strong and talented women. Kelly de Schaun sits at the helm and is one among many who comprise the park board and Visit Galveston’s varied teams.

Obviously, the park board isn’t the only place where women play vital roles and serve their communities. Many have chosen to forge their career paths in the areas of coastal sciences. Beginning May 27, the park board will showcase some of them.

During a six-month discussion series called Women in Coastal Sciences, attendees can learn about these women, their projects, and what led them to choose their careers.

The format will be relaxed, interview-style sessions. The idea for the series originated from park board staff members – women who wanted to bring attention to successes in the many fields available pertaining to coastal science.

Park Board Guest Experience Manager Ann Hobing said the series aligns with the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and with its mission to be stewards of the coastal environment.

“When it comes to scientific pursuits, women can be marginalized or intimidated,” Hobing said. “We want this series to help women share their journeys to success and fulfillment and to inspire other women to consider entering the science realm, too.”

To date, speakers include Sarah Piwetz from the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network; Kari Howard from the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Rescue; Kristen Vale with the American Bird Conservancy; Haille Leija from the Galveston Bay Foundation; Kelly Drinnen with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Lucy Flores with the Texas General Land Office’s Texas Beach Watch.

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“We hope members of the Galveston community will come and meet the women who tackle the challenges our coastal environment faces,” Hobing said. “From rescuing marine mammals and sea turtles to understanding the impacts of extreme conditions on our Gulf shores, these women will demonstrate the diversity of careers found here and will share their journeys in their fields of expertise.”

The series takes place at 9 a.m. on the fourth Friday of each month from May to October at the East Beach Pavilion. Coffee and juice will be provided. Food and beverages also will be available for purchase.


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