Carolyn Sotka is a marine biologist, ocean policy expert, science communicator, writer and photographer. Carolyn brings over 20 years of experience building ocean and coastal conservation programs at non-profits – New England Aquarium and COMPASS (Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea); academic institutions – Duke University, Stanford University and the College of Charleston; and government with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Carolyn has worked on a diversity of marine conservation issues. These include oceans and human health (e.g., impacts of chemical contaminants, HABs, ocean trash, oil spills, pathogens, sunscreen, marine pharmaceuticals, and climate change on human/wildlife health); marine protected areas and reserves; sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and seafood safety; protected species management and environmental sustainability studies.
Carolyn is skilled at strategic planning, program management, national policy development, coordination of interagency and multi-stakeholder initiatives, building networks and partnerships, grant writing and fundraising, media and congressional outreach, science communication training, college-level instruction and curricula development.
Carolyn is an accomplished author of books, interagency federal reports, articles, press releases, blogs (The Scuttlefish.com) content for Web sites, short videos and podcasts. Her co-authored book “The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival” is a non-fiction best seller and has inspired many working on conservation issues throughout Monterey Bay. This includes the 2017 PBS Big Blue Live special and an interactive play based on the book’s protagonist Dr. Julia Platt, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The book also influenced policy action to rename a California marine reserve after Dr. Platt.
While at NOAA, Carolyn was a senior member of the Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) and senior staffer for OHHI’s National Advisory Panel, Joint OHH NOAA and NSF-NIEHS Center Directors and the Interagency Working Group on HABS, Hypoxia and Human Health under the Subcommittee for Ocean Science and Technology.
Also, with the OHHI Carolyn was the communications and outreach manager. During her tenure she had one of the best track records for press conference invitations at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting. Her co-led 2010 AAAS session Decoding the Secret Pathologies of Dolphins: Significance for Human and Ocean Health was one of only two sessions chosen by NPR’s Science Friday for their live broadcast that year. OHHI press releases resulted in over 50 features in the popular press annually.
Currently, Carolyn is an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston and leads science communication classes and workshops at professional, graduate and undergraduate levels. She helps ocean scientists tell their story better, so their findings can be used for management, policy, conservation and other benefits to society. Most recently, she co-directed the Fall 2018 study abroad experience on environmental policy and sustainability in Spain.
Carolyn has a Masters degree in Ocean Policy from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Bachelors degree in Zoology from the University of Vermont.
Carolyn is science-minded, a communicator, an artist, a relationship builder and an inclusive world traveler – driven to understand and share stories about the intersection of culture, society, ocean science and conservation. This passion has led her to remote islands and wild coasts of the world, with her children and to over 40 countries. To learn more about Carolyn and see her multi-media products and services- visit her Web site: www.carolynsotka.com.
- Oceans and human health topics (contaminants, HABs, ocean trash, oil spills, pathogens, marine pharmaceuticals, extreme weather events)
- Global climate change, adaptation, mitigation and resilient communities
- Marine Protected Areas and coastal zone management
- Sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and seafood safety
- Protected species management (wildlife, marine mammals and sea turtles)
- Environmental sustainability studies
- Developed and executed strategic planning
- Tracked performance to meet mission goals and objectives
- Developed National Ocean Policy and implementation
- Federal contracts, proposals, candidate review, statements of work
- Multi-sector facilitation and networking
- Interagency and multi-stakeholder coordination and facilitation
- Grants, proposal writing and fundraising
- Target, recruit, train, and retain science-driven communities
Communication and Outreach:
- Author of the best-selling “The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival”
- Media and congressional outreach
- Science communication training, social media and cross promotional marketing
- College-level instruction, and curricula development
- Scientific symposia or conference development and leadership
- Author of books, textbook chapters, federal reports, investigative articles, press releases, videos and podcasts