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News & Notes – Winter 2014
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Carolina's Gold Coast: The Culture of Rice and Slavery
VOLUME 28, NUMBER 1, WINTER 2014             

Carolina's Gold Coast: The Culture of Rice and Slavery
By John H. Tibbetts                                                                       back to main story  

DeCenzo re-elected as board chair

Dr. David DecenzoDavid A. DeCenzo, Ph.D., president of Coastal Carolina University, has been re-elected as chair of S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s Board of Directors.

DeCenzo began his one-year term on January 1, 2014. “I look forward to serving another term as chairman of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium,” says DeCenzo. “The Consortium’s work is important to our state, and it is a pleasure to work with such an impressive board and outstanding staff.”

A native of Maryland, DeCenzo is the second president of Coastal Carolina University (CCU). Prior to his appointment as president, DeCenzo served as dean of CCU’s E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration from 2002-2006, and was named provost of the university from 2006-2007.

After earning a Ph.D. in industrial relations from West Virginia University, he became a corporate trainer/employee development specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield, an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore, and a professor, scholar, and administrator at Towson University in Baltimore.

“I look forward to working with Dr. DeCenzo again this year in his role as board chairman,” says Rick DeVoe, executive director of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium. “His leadership has been instrumental to the Consortium as it seeks to build on successes in serving the information needs of various stakeholders who depend on the coastal and marine resources of South Carolina.”

Study analyzes Consortium’s economic impact

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium generated $8.9 million in economic impact in South Carolina in 2012, and $11.5 million in the tri-state region, according to a Sea Grant-funded study completed by the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.

In addition, the study notes that every $1 the state invested to support the Consortium and its coastal and ocean research, education, and outreach activities generated $26 in statewide economic output.

“We’re proud of the work the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium performs and the value of that work to the State of South Carolina,” says David A. DeCenzo, board chairman of the Consortium and president of Coastal Carolina University.

“The results of this study illustrate that the research, education, and outreach programming the Consortium undertakes is of significant value to South Carolina’s economic, environmental, and social well-being,” notes Rick DeVoe, executive director of the Consortium.

The study focused on four major economic contributions by the Consortium during a one-year period: total non-state external funding acquired, two volunteer-driven litter cleanups, the development of an independently run regional ocean-observing organization startup, and workforce-training programs targeted to the marine fisheries and aquaculture industries.

“There is no doubt that South Carolina’s coastal region is one of its most valuable assets, which the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium helps to maintain,” says Joseph Von Nessen, research economist in the Moore School of Business and the study’s principal author. “But in addition, the Consortium also knows how to effectively leverage its own assets. For instance, the Consortium brings new federal dollars to the state and creates jobs that, on average, generate tax revenue which directly pays back approximately one-third of the Consortium’s annual state appropriation.”

The annual economic impact of $8.9 million in South Carolina is the dollar value representing the total value of all goods and services associated, either directly or indirectly, with the economic activities of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

This impact corresponds to nearly $2.8 million in income for South Carolinians. In the tri-state region, consisting of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, the economic impact increases to $11.5 million, which is associated with $3.8 million in income.
A copy of the complete study, as well as an executive summary, is available on the Consortium website at

New climate specialist hired   

Dr. Elizabeth FlyElizabeth (“Liz”) Fly is the new coastal climate extension specialist with the S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA).

Liz received a B.S. in biology in 2006 from the University of Puget Sound and a Ph.D. in biological sciences in 2012 from the University of South Carolina. She recently completed a year as a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, working on the National Climate Assessment at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

“A wealth of climate change-related information is out there,” Liz says. “But it can sometimes seem an overload of information to someone with a specific question or problem.”    

She plans to be a point person for coastal-climate issues in South Carolina, working to consolidate the knowledge that already exists, identifying research gaps, and communicating this information in a publicly accessible way.

“It’s important for communities to be involved in research, data collection, resiliency planning, and in the overall conversation as much as possible to feel invested in the issue,” Liz says.

With her background in biology, Liz will also be assisting CISA in the development and implementation of coastal-drought indicators. CISA works with stakeholders across the Carolinas to incorporate climate information into the decision-making processes of coastal and water management.

For information, contact Liz at or (843) 953-2097.

Knauss fellows from S.C. schools selected

Two South Carolina graduate students were selected as fellows in the 2014 class of the prestigious John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. Nominated by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, the students were among 48 selected from nominees of 24 different Sea Grant programs. 

During her fellowship, Chelsea Wegner, who has completed an M.S. in marine science at the University of South Carolina, will serve as special assistant to the deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Chelsea will be a policy advisor to the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships as part of the efforts to implement the National Ocean Policy. She will also coordinate a special-issue publication depicting NOAA’s advances in technology throughout the agency’s history.

“I’m interested in work in coral reef conservation as a researcher or policy advisor with the federal government,” she says. “The fellowship will give me exposure to new and relevant research issues” to help guide future career choices.

Katie Allen, who is completing a Ph.D. in integrative biology at the University of South Carolina, will spend her fellowship working with the Democratic staff of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources—Subcommittee for Fisheries, Oceans, Wildlife, and Insular Affairs. 

“I will meet with stakeholders,” Katie says, “write memos for hearings, draft talking points for members, draft questions for hearings, and conduct research on topics of interest to the committee.”

Katie hopes that the fellowship will help in her career goal: to use her scientific background to inform public policy as it relates to fisheries and management of other natural resources.

To further the education of tomorrow’s leaders, the National Sea Grant Office sponsors the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, bringing a select group of graduate students to the nation’s capital, where they work in the federal government’s legislative and executive branches.

The students learn about federal policy regarding marine and Great Lakes natural resources and lend their scientific expertise to the federal agencies and Congress staff offices.

Each of the nation’s 33 Sea Grant programs can nominate up to six students annually. Selections are then made competitively from among those nominations. Visit for more information about the Knauss fellowship.

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Last updated: 3/21/2014 12:04:07 PM
News & Notes – Winter 2014


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