Authored by Rachel McGuire
WE SAT DOWN WITH AU’S DR. KELLY DUNNING, AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE SCHOOL OF FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE SCIENCES.
Tell us about your background and current position.
I have a PhD from MIT in Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, an MS from Oxford in Environmental Policy and a BA from the University of Florida in Political Science. I have a book on coral reef management policy called Managing Coral Reefs, funded by a U.S. Fulbright award. I am a 2020 National Academies of Science Gulf Research Program Early Career Fellow, and a recipient of a 2020 NSF Rapid on Coronavirus impacts in Gulf states in low income communities.
Dunning snorkeling along a reef.
Describe your current research activities.
My lab, the Conservation Governance Lab, focuses on environmental policy. I mainly ask how policy is made and implemented to ensure desired ecological and social outcomes across a wide variety of places and scales. Many of my graduate students are focused on how we manage coral reefs in the Caribbean region, asking questions about how major infrastructure projects that defy local conservation laws are still implemented in the Caribbean?; How coral reef management policy is changing in the face of climate change?; and how Congress is working across the aisle to pass coral reef management policies.
In your career, what is the best advice you’ve been given?
From my PhD supervisor Larry Susskind at MIT, less advice as it was his example: treat everyone you come into contact with respectfully and with kindness. Students, colleagues, staff, and research respondents are their best selves when you treat them with kindness, trust, and respect.
Dunning alongside other researchers in salt marsh plots.