Graduate Student Spotlight and Global Change Fellow: Matthew Stillwagon

Each month, Forestry and Environmental Resources highlights a current student who represent the diverse and involved student population within the department. This month, February, the spotlight focuses on, Matthew Stillwagon.  Matthew is a doctoral student with Dr. Marcelo Ardon and is a Global Change Fellow.

Name: Matthew Stillwagon

Matthew Stillwagon

Year: 3rd year doctoral student

Hometown: Buellton CA

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your program and research?
My research, which is being conducted alongside collaborators at Duke and UNC, seeks to determine how sea level rise and saltwater intrusion events are affecting historically freshwater wetlands on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula (APP) in Eastern NC, and to predict how these events will affect the wetlands in the future. In particular, I am studying how nitrogen and phosphorus cycles in the soil and water are altered by elevated salinity. With this research I aim to help preserve these valuable ecosystems, as well as help residents and managers on the APP understand how these landscapes will change under the stress of continued sea level rise.
2. How will the Fellowship impact you and your research?  
The fellowship provides training in science communication, which will be very valuable when sharing my research with the residents and stakeholders on the peninsula. In addition, the networking opportunities both within the Southeast Climate Science Center and the wider network affiliates will be a valuable career building opportunity.
3. What will you be doing as part of this Fellowship?
As part of this fellowship we will be organizing four seminars throughout the semester, as well as helping to organize a meeting for the SECSC stakeholder advisory committee. We will also be participating in a science communication training workshop to further our professional development.
4. What do you plan to do after you graduate?  
After graduation I would like to remain in academia, or enter the private sector in a research and advisory capacity.