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Meet Our Students - Vanessa Levesque

Vanessa LevesqueWhat year & semester did you begin EES graduate studies?
Fall 2010

What degree are you pursuing?
Ph.D.

Who are your academic advisors?
Dr. Aram Calhoun and Dr. Kathleen Bell

What prior degrees do you have ?
B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College, M.S. in Natural Resources Planning from Univerity of Vermont

Why did you choose to attend grad school at UMaine? Why did you choose EES?
I chose UMaine because I wanted to work with Dr. Calhoun and Dr. Bell on their SSI-funded project, and I chose EES because I wanted to do an interdisciplinary program focused on environmental policy.

Briefly describe the research project you are working on.
My research is generally focused on better understanding regulatory efforts by Maine municipalities that protect the environment.  More specifically, I have two different lines of research. In one, I am looking broad scale across all Maine municipalities to document what types of policies they have adopted that support economic, environmental and social sustainability, and then I am determining what the characteristics are of the towns that pass such policies.  In the second line of research, I am conducting a long-term case study of two towns in Maine that are working with State and Federal regulators, along with land trusts and developers, to come up with a locally-relevant, market-based method of protecting vernal pools.  I am conducting an analysis to better understand the role of policy networks in developing innovative policy, and I am doing an economic assessment of the proposed policy.

What has been your favorite class at UMaine so far?
I really liked SMS 553 – Institutions and the Management of Common Pool Resources

What has been your most rewarding research experience and why? If you are new to UMaine, what are your research goals?
Along with Dr. Calhoun, I have now been working closely with local, state and federal stakeholders on the vernal pool project for 3 years, and in doing so, we are an integral part of the process and not just outside researchers.  It is fulfilling to spend my time and effort on such an exciting and innovative policy development process.

What advice to do you have for prospective graduate students?
Be ready to spend a lot of time on school work! But also be ready to make lots of great friends and learn things you never thought of.

Are you interested in mentoring undergraduates?
I am currently mentoring undergraduates and don’t have time to mentor additional students at this time.


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