Patricia Valentín Lloréns, a Marine Affairs graduate from the University of Rhode Island, will inventory natural and cultural resources for the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources as a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I.– University of Rhode Island graduate student Patricia Valentín Lloréns has been placed as a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (USVI DPNR) for two years.

Valentín Lloréns was one of 32 applicants nationally for five two-year fellowships with coastal and natural resources organizations around the country. She graduates in August with a Master of Marine Affairs and will begin her fellowship the same month.

Valentín Lloréns applied for the fellowship through Rhode Island Sea Grant to help her gain experience to help improve relationships between coastal communities and government.

Patricia Valentín Lloréns headshot.

Patricia Valentín Lloréns, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

“I was born in Puerto Rico and always felt a responsibility to [the water], and back at home there are so many issues going on with coastal communities,” says Valentín Lloréns. 

“I feel like my place in [the management] world is to be a link between communities and government agencies because I’ve seen how there’s so many gaps in those relationships.” 

She learned  how to  manage teams and conduct community surveys as a graduate research assistant in the Social Assessment of Sargassum in the Caribbean project under Professor and Rhode Island Sea Grant Director Tracey Dalton. Dalton describes the seaweed sargassum as a scourge to communities in the Caribbean, fouling beaches and waterways. Valentín Lloréns’ job was to recruit, train, and manage a team of local research assistants to help conduct surveys of people whose livelihoods or quality of life were affected by sargassum. She also participated in creating and conducting the research and ethnographic interviews.

As a Coastal Management Fellow, Valentín Lloréns will inventory natural and cultural resources for the U.S. Virgin Islands’ newly established park lands, managed by the department’s Division of Territorial Parks and Protected Areas, and will share results with the community.

“We are so excited to have Patricia join the USVI DPNR team,” says Kitty Edwards, education and outreach coordinator for USVI DPNR. “We were immediately impressed by Patricia’s application packet and her passion for protecting and representing her home of Puerto Rico as well as her desire to work with environmental justice and bridging the gap between local populations and government agencies.” 

In addition to her degree from URI, Valentín Lloréns also holds a bachelor’s degree in physical and environmental geography from the University of Puerto Rico.

NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship

The NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship offers on-the-job training for postgraduate students in coastal resource management and policy. Up to nine fellows are placed with state coastal programs every year.

The program matches postgraduate students to work on projects proposed by state coastal zone management programs and selected by NOAA Office for Coastal Management. Rhode Island Sea Grant recruits and nominates students attending Rhode Island universities.