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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Asha Ajmani

NE CASC Graduate Fellow
University of Massachusetts

Research Interests

Tribal Nations often struggle with unequal access to education and funding, preventing an already vulnerable population from building the capacity necessary to create efficient and sustainable solutions to climate change challenges. Tribal youth play a key role in protecting their culture, natural resources, and traditional knowledge, and it is important to build their tools and skills through educational support. The key objective of this fellowship is to engage youth from Northeast Tribal Nations, the scientific community at UMass Amherst, and the NE CASC consortium in virtual panels focusing on climate science, environmental justice, and traditional knowledge, with the goal of helping tribal communities create adaptive strategies to challenges such as climate change and other environmental

impacts. Topics will include impacts on fisheries, forestry management, invasive species, and sea level rise. Both tribal youth and university participants will have a chance to share their experiences and knowledge, and youth will have a platform to ask questions from students and faculty in STEM fields. Additionally, the fellowship will work towards developing a mentorship program in which faculty, staff and students engage with tribal youth to brainstorm how universities can better support cultural needs in the transition to campus life. Ultimately, the results will encourage scientific aspirations and further educational experiences that support diversity and inclusion efforts at the university level in culturally sensitive ways.

Committees
• Gulf of Maine Council – Tribal representative 
• Natural Resources Committee, United South and Eastern Tribes – secretary; voting member for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point 
• Membership and Development Committee, Downeast Salmon Federation 
• Northeast Regional Planning Body, National Ocean Policy – representative for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point 
• Native American Fish and Wildlife Society - member 

Awards, Certificates, and Trainings
• Pre-dissertation grant, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020 
• Stewart Fellowship, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020 
• Distinguished Service Award, Gulf of Maine Council, 2018 
• Climate Change Adaptation Planning – Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Aug. 2017 
• Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Workshop – United South and Eastern Tribes and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Nov. 2016 
• Fish Passage Engineering Workshop – B. Towler and A. Haro, June 2016 
• Advanced Telemetry and Database Management – T. Castro-Santos, June 2016 
• Stream Restoration and Large Wood Addition Workshop – Project SHARE, Jan. 2016 

 

 

Education

Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, Biology and French Sociology and Religion (Minors) Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington
Master of Science, Oceanography University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia Thesis: The growth and diet composition of sockeye salmon smolts in Rivers Inlet, British Columbia

Experience

Research Affiliate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology May 2016 – June 2018
Ecology Program Manager/Environmental Scientist, Sipayik Environmental Department Passamaquoddy Tribe May 2015 – June 2018
Fisheries Technician, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission March 2015 – May 2015
Teacher, Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute Sept. 2012 – March 2013
Fisheries Biologist, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission April 2012 – Aug. 2012
Researcher, University of British Columbia Jan. 2009 – Dec. 2011
Survey Assistant, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada Feb. 2009
Staff Assistant, County of Orange Health Care Agency June 2006 – Oct. 2007
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