Coastal Connections Web Series

The Coastal Society Coastal Connections Web Conferencing Series

The Coastal Connections Web Conferencing Series provides opportunities to learn about interdisciplinary coastal issues, diverse professions and career pathways, and connect with others in the coastal sector. The Coastal Connections series currently includes two formats: Trending Topics and Professional Spotlights.

Trending Topics

Trending Topics sessions feature presentations on pressing coastal issues and the latest science and management developments. All participants have the opportunity to engage through group discussion on these coastal issues. Trending Topics sessions are open to all TCS members and guests, so we hope you and any interested colleagues will join the conversation.

Professional Spotlight

Professional Spotlight sessions provide an opportunity for current students and professionals at all stages of their career to learn about potential career paths from current TCS members. Join us to learn first-hand from seasoned coastal professionals about their experiences and job tips. These sessions are intended for TCS members only as a benefit of your membership.

Questions, have topic suggestions, or interested in becoming involved? Contact

Upcoming Sessions

Trending Topics SessionThe Art (and Science) of Projecting Sea Level Rise Coastal Storms: Community Resiliency

Wednesday, March 30th , 3 – 4 pm ET. Join us to learn about trends in sea level rise, considering recent data in comparison to the geological record, and participate in a discussion about sea level rise impacts on coastal resources and general mitigation approaches. Featured speakers include:

  • John Englander, Oceanographer/Author
  • Molly Mitchell, PhD, Research Assistant Professor at Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Following presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their own expertise in a moderated discussion. The session will be moderated by Whitney Gray, Florida Program Manager – Resilience with Michael Baker International.

Register Here!

Previous Sessions


10/21/21 – Trending Topics Session

Coastal Storms: Community Resiliency

This session revealed how communities are preparing for addressing the challenges of more frequent and intense storms with climate change and how to communicate to and engage communities about risk. The session was moderated by Kim Grubert, Sustainability, Energy and Climate Change, . Featured speakers included:

  • Erik Heden, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Newport/Morehead City, NC
  • Jill Gambill, Coastal Resilience Specialist at University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant

7/22/21 – Trending Topics Session

Aquaculture Development in the U.S.

This session focused on the growing U.S. aquaculture industry and its associated benefits, challenges, and innovations. The session was moderated by Dr. Kelly Lucas, Associate Vice President for Research at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Coastal Operations. Featured speakers included:

  • David O’Brien, Director (Acting), NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture (presentation)
  • Drue Winters, Policy Director, American Fisheries Society (presentation)
  • Paul Zajicek, Executive Director, National Aquaculture Association (presentation)

A recording of the session is available HERE.

7/8/21 – Professional Spotlight Session

Featured Speaker: Dr. Michael Orbach, Professor Emeritus of Marine Affairs and Policy in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

Dr. Orbach provided an overview of his career path in social sciences and policy in coastal and marine environments, including research on all coasts of the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Orbach also shared his experiences serving on numerous Boards and Commissions, which included being former President of The Coastal Society. A copy of his presentation is available here, and a recording of the session is available for TCS members.

5/10/21 – Professional Spotlight Session

Featured Speaker: Kristen Fletcher, Faculty Associate-Research in the Energy Academic Group at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California

Kristen Fletcher provided an overview of her career path through environmental, ocean, and coastal law and policy and her experiences with various NGOs, including serving as former President of The Coastal Society. A copy of her presentation is available here, and a recording of the session is available for TCS members.

2/26/21 – Trending Topics Session

Coastal Communities and Offshore Wind Development: Challenges and Opportunities 

Learn about the current status and expected trends of U.S. offshore wind lease development and listen to discussion about the challenges and opportunities for coastal communities, including economic and environmental considerations. The session featured three presentations from panelists and was moderated by Jennifer McCann, Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at University of Rhode Island and Director of Extension at Rhode Island Sea Grant.

Featured Panelists:

  • Laurie Kutina, Environmental scientist and air quality/NEPA specialist at WSP (presentation)
  • Matthew Smith, Director of Offshore Wind Business Development of the Hampton Roads Alliance (presentation)
  • Michael Snyder, New York State Department of State Office of Planning, Development, and Community Infrastructure (presentation)


12/17/20 – Professional Spotlight Session

Featured Speaker: Lisa Phipps, North Coast Regional Representative, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development

Lisa Phipps provided a broad overview of her own fascinating professional and personal journey from working in fisheries in Idaho, to mayor and municipal judge in a small coastal community in Oregon, to her current position as a regional representative for coastal communities to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. A copy of her presentation is available here, and a recording of the session is available for TCS members.

11/12/20 – Trending Topics in Coastal Issues Session

Plastic Pollution: Coastal and Marine Trends

Plastic pollution in our marine environmental and coastal areas has been a growing issue of concern for scientists, governments, and citizens alike. A panel of three experts working in this field shared the latest trends in microplastic research, citizen science tracking of marine debris around the globe, and policy changes needed to prevent plastic from entering our coastal waters.

Featured Panelists:

  • Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy. Presentation slides available here.
  • Fred Dobbs, Old Dominion University. Presentation slides available here.
  • Kathryn Youngblood, University of Georgia. Presentation slides available here.

10/1/20 – Professional Spotlight Session

Featured Speaker: Rick DeVoe, Executive Director, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

Rick DeVoe provided an overview of his career with the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, his educational background, and his involvement with TCS.  Mr. DeVoe shared several professional tips, including the importance of communication skills, building a network, and finding a great mentor. A copy of her presentation is available here, and a recording of the session is available for TCS members.

8/7/20 – Trending Topics in Coastal Issues Session

Improving Diversity and Equal Representation in Coastal Planning and Education Activities

For the inaugural TCS Coastal Connections session, this topic was selected to advance recent TCS Board of Directors initiatives to combat racism and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in TCS activities and the coastal sector. Invited speakers provided an overview of systemic racism impacts on the STEM field, examples of programs supporting diversity in the coastal sciences, and community engagement efforts. Group discussion following the presentations was moderated by Trystan Sill, Resiliency Education Coordinator with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and TCS Volunteer.

Featured Panelists:

  • Dr. Brandon Jones, National Science Foundation. Presentation available here.
  • Dr. Corey Garza, California State University. Presentation available here.
  • Dr. Noelle Chao, Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy. Presentation available here.