Laura Nelson’s love of water drives most of her professional and recreational pursuits. Originally from Hinsdale, IL, Laura grew up spending time around the lakes of northern Wisconsin and Michigan before pursuing a degree in biology at Dartmouth College. Following her time at Dartmouth, she worked for several years and as a scientist for the Sea Education Association, sailing on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and teaching undergraduates and high school students about the ocean. Eventually, Laura moved on to the University of Washington where she completed a Master of Marine and Environmental Affairs and began working for the Makah Tribe on the Washington coast.
Laura is interested in the human dimensions of ocean and coastal ecosystems, particularly by the pathways through which environmental health affects human health and wellbeing. Through her work with the Makah Tribe, she has been part of an initial Tribal climate vulnerability assessment. She plans to continue contributing to this effort through investigating Makah’s current subsistence uses of marine resources and how those species, practices, and community wellbeing may be impacted by climate change.