NIU Political Science alumnus Jarrod Loerzel (fall 2008) is a recipient of the National Estuary Research Reserve System Graduate Research Fellowship (NERRS GRF) sponsored through NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NERRS Graduate Research Fellowship Program is one of the largest graduate programs supported by NOAA. Fellows conduct their research within a National Estuarine Research Reserve and gain hands-on experience by engaging with reserve staff and participating in their host reserve's research, education, stewardship and training programs.
Fellows use reserves as living laboratories to address NERRS natural and social science priority issues based on the reserves' local coastal management needs. Mr. Loerzel's project entails surveying various stakeholder groups as to their landscape-oriented, non-market based valuations within South Carolina's ACE Basin. This educational and career opportunity will help in his work to form a non-profit environmental consulting firm upon completion of the Master's program in environmental studies at the College of Charleston.
Loerzel credits Political Science associate professor Brendon Swedlow's even-handed manner of presenting environmental issues and handling delicate environmental disagreements as having a very positive impact in his life. "Indeed," says Loerzel, "it is part of the reason why I can even hope to approach, let alone discuss, sensitive environmental issues with four different stakeholder groups, in Charleston, South Carolina. Thank you for your fine teaching skills." He also is grateful to Political Science assistant professor Kheang Un whose boundless energy and infectious desire for learning were an inspiration.