Adam Parris, Executive Director: Having lived near estuaries all his life, Adam Parris is passionate about positive change where people, waters, and diverse species converge at the coast and about making science more relevant and useful. Currently, he leads the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay in New York City, a partnership between governmental, research, and community organizations aimed at improving resilience in the region’s coastal waters. Previously, he helped develop the Sea Level Rise Tool for Sandy Recovery, an effort to integrate science on future sea level rise with flood insurance information for rebuilding and recovery efforts. He has been involved in integrating sea level rise information into the coastal planning efforts of a number of Federal agencies, as well as the states of California, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. From 2010 – 2015, Mr. Parris directed NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program, a national effort to connect science to climate adaptation and preparedness decisions in different regions across the US. With over 50 scientists from the RISA program, he co-edited and co-authored Climate in Context: Science and Society Partnering for Adaptation, an in-depth exploration of techniques for producing usable knowledge and climate services. He enjoys speaking in public and has done so regularly for over 100 audiences large and small, including local and national media outlets. Mr. Parris won a Presidential Green.gov award as Climate Champion, a NOAA Administrator’s Award, and a Bronze medal from the Department of Commerce. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Environmental Geology from Bucknell University and a Master of Science in Geology from the University of Vermont. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, two kids and dog, who are a constant source of inspiration, humility, and good humor.
Jessica Fain, Program Director for Policy, Planning, and Engagement: Jessica Fain recently joined the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay as the Program Director for Policy, Planning and Engagement. Previously, she was a senior planner at the New York City Department of City Planning in the Waterfront and Open Space Division, where she focused on coastal zone management and resiliency planning. She was also a capital projects manager at the NYC Public Design Commission. Jessica holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Helen Cheng, Coastal Resilience Specialist: Helen Cheng is the Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist at the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay in partnership with New York Sea Grant. Helen previously worked as the Coastal Communities Specialist for the National Sea Grant Office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), being a recipient of the 2015 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. Helen received her M.S. degree in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire in 2014, studying the environmental influences on American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) behavior and distribution in the Great Bay Estuary, N.H. U.S.A. She received her B.S. from Stony Brook University in 2009. Helen has volunteered and worked at several non-profit organizations including the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the New York Aquarium, and participated in a variety of marine science research projects, education opportunities, and outreach events. Helen is also interested in science communication, utilizing mediums like blogging, creating conceptual diagrams, and story-telling. In her free time, she is either hiking in the mountains, swimming in the ocean, or playing the guitar.
Sandra Clarke, Executive Administrator:Sandra has been working at Brooklyn College since 2002, first in the Africana Studies Department and then in the Office of the Provost before joining us here at the Science and Resilience Institute in 2015. She manages all operational aspects of the office including scheduling, procurement, personnel, and facilities. Sandra holds a BA in Business Management and Finance and an MA in Psychology from Brooklyn College.