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Alumni - Jessica Spelke Jansujwicz, EES Ph.D. 2011

Jessica Spelke JansujwiczWhat attracted you to the EES program at UMaine?
I decided to pursue my doctoral degree with Dr. Aram Calhoun in the Department of Wildlife Ecology because her applied research on community-based vernal pool conservation offered the opportunity to work at the interface between science and society.  Previous research, teaching, and outreach experiences had convinced me that practical solutions to conservation problems require an integrated approach that considers both the ecological and social aspects of complex resource systems.

What did you like most about EES? How has your experience at UMaine helped you in your career?
As an EES graduate student I worked with Dr. Aram Calhoun, Dr. Robert Lilieholm, and the Vernal Pool Team of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative to better understand the challenges and opportunities for conserving natural resources on private lands. The flexibility and interdisciplinary focus of the EES program not only allowed me to engage in innovative research but also to design a course of study that focused on both the natural and social sciences. The theoretical concepts and methods I learned as an EES graduate student, and that I used to frame and conduct my research on vernal pool conservation planning have proven invaluable in advancing my career as a social scientist. 

What are you doing now?
Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Teresa Johnson, SSI, and Maine’s Tidal Power Initiative.  As a postdoc I am applying lessons learned from the vernal pool project to inform research on the human dimensions of tidal power development in Maine’s coastal communities.

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