Chiara Zuccarino-Crowe

Chiara Zuccarino-Crowe has lived and worked all over. But whether on the East Coast or West, on another continent or floating on this one’s inland seas, she’s never been far from fish.

Now the Chicago native has brought her love of aquatic life to Michigan State, where she’s a graduate student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. She has a specialization in Environmental Science and Policy, and is part of the graduate program in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior.

Zuccarino-Crowe researches the role of marine protected areas in fisheries sustainability, and plans to study how effectively protected areas in the Great Lakes rehabilitate lake trout populations and habitat. She said marine protected areas are an ideal subject for an ESPP student because they’re products of both interdisciplinary science and political pressure from interest groups.

After majoring in biology at Boston College and studying marine science for a year at the University of New South Wales in Australia, she worked for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission in San Diego, conducting surveys to find out what species and sizes of fish anglers were catching, and how.

“That experience really helped highlight the need for public education about why regulations were the way they were,” she said. “Incorporating people as part of the ecosystem is important.”

More recently Zuccarino-Crowe was a research fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office, where her duties included spending summers on board the R/V Lake Guardian, a research vessel.

This work involved her in other projects throughout the region requiring collaboration between scientists and policymakers. People from different disciplines often worked together closely, but not always smoothly, she noticed, and the value of programs like ESPP became apparent.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if people started out able to speak each other’s language?”