Science Fellows

Bill Shuster joined us from the USEPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory where he is a research hydrologist with experience in urban hydrology, soil science, and sustainability science. As science diplomacy through the US Embassy, Dr. Shuster worked with atoll government agencies, NGOs, and educational institutions on: techniques to assess and track water catchment water quantity and quality; studying the role of human, cultural, and social capitals in atoll environmental management; a soils assessment for Majuro (the first in 34 years!); and more generally worked toward the identification and closure of critical gaps in this unique island water cycle. Dr. Shuster lives in a musical household in Cincinnati OH USA with his wife, Jackie, son Joey, and daughter Ellie; along with three cats, Felix, Ruby, and Rosie.

Find out more about Bill by following us on Facebook.

Our latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expert is Jon Becker, from Atlanta, Georgia. Jon has been working with the RMI EPA, the University of the South Pacific (USP) and others to improve the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for environmental management and planning.

During his stay, he organized a training on ArcGIS Online for all interested at the USP and a presentation of OpenStreetMap at the U.S. Embassy.

He grew up in Texas before moving to Atlanta with his wife Chris and two sons, Pearce and Weston. Jon has fallen in love with the beauty of the Marshall Islands and shows it with several videos of the underwater world like this one

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Ross leaves Embassy Majuro this week after a ten week visit as an Embassy Science Fellow.  Ross worked on identifying needs/gaps in elevation data for Majuro and the Marshall Islands.  The lack of high quality digital surface elevation model (DEM) data was identified by many scientists and technical experts as a “massive” data gap that required immediate attention to help the country make quantitative assessments of the present vulnerabilities to extreme tide events, storm surges, unusual swell conditions, and tsunamis as well as the future vulnerabilities in the longer term associated with climate change.  How to fill the gap is the challenge.  Ross, in concert with Majuro’s scientific community, developed a consensus approach recommending using the soon-to-be-launched World View 3 satellite to provide DEM data accurate to 0.2m vertical in the near term, and LiDAR data collection with DEM data accurate to 0.02m in the long term.  A plan for implementation was also provided.  A secondary goal during his tenure attempted to identify scientific institutions, scientists, and potential funding sources that could potentially be mobilized to collaborate on the high resolution update to the international “Millennium Global Coral Reef Mapping Project”.  The effort resulted in the submission of a concept paper by the University of Fiji and University of South Florida to the US Agency for International Development’s new Pacific American Climate Fund for the Pacific.  The Embassy thanks Ross for his hard work and contributions to the Marshall Islands, including those still coming.

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Hi, my name is Jyl Lapachin and I am very excited to be on assignment as an Embassy Science Fellow in Majuro, Marshall Islands for two months! During my time here I plan to listen to local experts about water issues here in the Marshall Islands. Part of my work may focus on developing a science curriculum for elementary schools that will center on the importance of water. The curriculum may include a component where students become “Junior Water Champions” and gather water monitoring data that will be used to evaluate water quantity and availability in their communities.

My permanent office is at the US EPA, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) in Washington DC.

Find out more about Jil by following us on Facebook.