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Our program is led by experts in marine biology, ecology, policy and communication.

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Email: smurray@ucsd.edu 

Samantha Murray, J.D.

Executive Director 
Masters of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Samantha Murray is the Executive Director of the MAS MBC Program where she also teaches graduate courses, including Ocean Law and Policy. In 2019 she was appointed by Governor Newsom to the California Fish and Game Commission. Samantha has nearly two decades of professional experience and has directed ocean and water programs at Ocean Conservancy, the Audubon Society and Oregon Environmental Council, in addition to founding a marine policy consulting business. Samantha played a key role in the design and implementation of California's network of marine protected areas, which now cover 16 percent of state waters. She served on the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee, has held board positions at Upstream Public Health and Citizens for East Shore Parks, and currently sits on the board at San Diego Coastkeeper.

Samantha has spoken at conferences around the world on best practices in ocean conservation and holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, where she was awarded a Certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law. Samantha is committed to diversity, inclusion and equitable impacts of public policy.

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Email: m3jacobsen@ucsd.edu
Website: https://econweb.ucsd.edu/~m3jacobs/

Mark Jacobsen, Ph.D.

Program Co-Chair
Masters of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation
Associate Professor, Economics 

Mark Jacobsen's research focuses on energy and environmental policy and addresses two main themes: the first is environmental regulation of transportation and the automobile industry, including the use of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and gasoline taxes. The second theme addresses optimal energy and environmental policy in the context of the broader economy, considering efficiency in the presence of Ricardian rents, untaxes activity in the informal sector, and green preferences. 

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Email: jes013@ucsd.edu
Website: http://scrippsscholars.ucsd.edu/jes013

Jen Smith, Ph.D.

Program Co-Chair
Masters of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation
Associate Professor, Marine Ecology and Conservation

Jen is a coral reef ecologist with primary expertise in benthic communities (marine plants, corals and other invertebrates). Her primary interests are in determining how various physical and biological processes affect the structure and function of marine communities. Jen has been interested in determining how human impacts affect or alter marine communities. Currently, Jen and her students are working on understanding how local stressors such as pollution, overfishing or the introduction of invasive species affect coral reefs. Jen's lab is also working to determine how global stressors associated with climate change such as warming or ocean acidification will alter reef species. Much of the research in the Smith lab is focused on marine conservation and restoration of degraded habitats and often involves multidisciplinary activities. Jen and her students are actively working to develop effective management strategies for coral reef communities around the world.

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Email: rmfarrell@ucsd.edu 
Phone: 858-822-2886
Office: Eckart 202

Risa Farrell

Program Coordinator
Masters of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Equipped with over seven years of helping diverse audiences reach their goals, Risa is your go-to person for all questions related to MAS MBC Program admissions, student life, professional development and alumni relations.  An alumna of UC San Diego herself, Risa is passionate about student support and connecting people to creative solutions and powerful opportunities.

She is here to help MAS MBC prospective students through the application, admissions and enrollment processes as well as support throughout their time in the Program. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

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Email: pdockry@ucsd.edu 

Penny Dockry

Operations Manager
Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Penny is Operations Manager for the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC). She serves a pivotal role in organizing and leading the complex elements of the interdisciplinary center and related programming. She maintains a range of activities, including facilitation of critical programming and administrative elements of the MAS MBC and PIER education programs, as well as managing the diverse efforts defining CMBC.

She collaborates with the MAS MBC Executive Director, key faculty members, and external organizations and agencies, to create the structure and elements for the 16 unit graduate summer course. She maintains a growing network of alumni who can help connect students and recent graduates with important contacts in government and non-government agencies around the world. With more than 15 years working experience at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Penny has institutional history and knowledge that helps resolve "sticky" issues for students, faculty, and staff across UC San Diego.