Episode 2 – Research ‘off the rails’ during COVID-19

On this episode, the host, Rafaella Lobo, talks to four other students to understand how the Covid-19 global pandemic has affected their lives and research, and how they have learned to cope with these new challenges.

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Rafaella Lobo head shot

Rafaella Lobo, 3rd year PhD student at Dr. Lisa Campbell’s lab

Rafa is originally from Brazil, where she got a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from PUC-GO. She came to the US in 2014, to get her Master’s in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. In 2016 she was hired by the Duke Marine Lab to do pilot whale photo ID at Dr. Andrew Read’s lab, when her podcast addiction started. She began her PhD in 2018 under Dr. Campbell’s advising, and they have been talking about launching a podcast ever since. She has volunteered, interned and worked with marine/environmental institutions, such as the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, and the World Wildlife Fund. She’s been the Alexandra Cousteau Environment and Global Climate Change Fellow, and the Duke Global Policy Fellow. Her PhD research focuses on international governance for biodiversity conservation, particularly at the intersection of North-South issues.

Twitter: @LellaLobo


Julia Bingham head shot

Julia Bingham, 4th year PhD student at Dr. Grant Murray’s lab

Julia has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and one in International Studies from Oregon State University. She has been an intertidal ecology research assistant at HatfieldMarine Science Center and the Oregon Institute for Marine Biology, developed environmental education plans for the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, helped develop social-economic indicators of coastal resilience in northern Cuba and has given numerous talks and lectures on social values and political narratives of fishing, aquaculture, and coastal restoration. She is a James B. Duke fellow and currently works on the role of social values, knowledge, and equity in coastal management


Gabrielle Carmine head shot

Gabrielle Carmine, 2nd year PhD student in the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab (Dr. Patrick Halpin)

Gabby received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Biology from New York University in 2018. She grew up in New York City and worked at the River Project and Sarah Lawrence CURB studying and teaching Hudson River marine ecology to grades K-12. She previously worked at the Ocean Collectiv and Urban Ocean Lab under Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson before attending graduate school. She now studies corporate actors in high seas fisheries using Global Fishing Watch data.

Instagram & Twitter: @GabbyCarmine

Crisol Mendez head shot

Crisol Méndez-Medina, Post-Doc at the Coasts and Commons Co-Lab (Dr. Xavier Basurto)

Crisol’sbackground is in Sociology with a minor in Latin-American studies. She holds a Doctorate in Ecology and Sustainable Development from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Mexico). She is conservation scientist and institutional scholar who works at the interfaceof ecology, sociology, resource management, and policy to solve real-world natural resource management problem. She is a Fullbright Scholar (2017-2018) and MSC Fellow (2016). Currently she coordinates a participatory action research project in Mexico, working collaboratively with different stakeholders, NGOs, fishers, and scientists: The National Plan to Strengthen the Governance of Fishing Organizations.

Twitter: @CrisolMM

Stephanie Valdez head shot

Stephanie Valdez, 3rd year PhD student at Dr. Brian Silliman’s lab

Steph has a bachelor’s degree inBiology from the University of Washington, she has been a volunteer coordinator for a citizen science organization called COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team), a research technician at the University of Washington and a “mixed assortment of other odd jobs”before coming to Duke for her PhD. She is currently an NSF GRFP Fellow as well as a Luce Fellow.


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