Western grad student Bobbie Buzzell awarded a Sea Grant Fellowship

by Naomi Schapiro, Office of Communications intern

January 21, 2020

Bobbie Buzzell, a first-year graduate student at Western Washington University, has been awarded a prestigious Washington Sea Grant Communications Fellowship for 2019-2020.

Washington Sea Grant offers two Science Communications Fellowships, one for undergraduates and one for graduates.

Based out of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington Sea Grant is dedicated to improving the translation of research and scientific information into knowledge for use in the marine environment for the public, by providing resources to the community.

Sea Grant fellows work for two academic quarters on a range of communication projects from writing for the Sea Star Newsletter to developing web content. The fellowship gives students the opportunity to develop their science communication skills.

Buzzell, a native of North Bend, has been managing social media, blogging, participating in outreach events, writing for the Sea Star Newsletter, and other various projects since starting the fellowship. 

“I became interested in the fellowship because I was looking for ways to become a better science communicator,” Buzzell said. “I know scientists often struggle to effectively communicate their research to people who don’t have a science background.”

Buzzell graduated from Western in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology. For the last five years, she has worked as a fisheries observer for the North Pacific Observer Program in Alaska, collecting catch data on commercial fishing vessels.

She is now back at Western as a graduate student in Alejandro Acevedo-Gutierrez’s lab, working on a thesis with the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay on river otter diet of invasive crabs as a possible natural control of invasive species.

Acevedo-Gutierrez, who teaches in the Biology Department at Western, has known Buzzell for 10 years and said that the fellowship is a great opportunity for her as she moves forward with her graduate studies.

“Effective scientists should be able to share and communicate their findings effectively, in many forms, to any audience,” he said.

As part of her fellowship, Buzzell has been promoting the King Tides Viewing party on Jan. 15 at 9 a.m. at Boulevard Park. During the event, which is free and open to the public, she will help setup and facilitate, as well as promote the Mycoast app that helps document king tide events.

For more information, contact Western Washington University Office of Communications at (360) 650-3350.