Jessica Rose is a master’s student starting this year at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. While she will officially be enrolled as a grad student in Fall 2021, Jessica actually began her grad school career taking classes as a non-matriculated student the previous year. Intent on specializing in equity and environmental justice, she enrolled in a political ecology and environmental justice field course at SMEA co-taught by Professor Patrick Christie and Professor Jonathan Warren. As part of a group project, Jessica helped create a digital story (actorallyaccomplice.com) on factors inspiring and shaping non-indigenous allyship in climate justice issues.
It was through this class that Jessica became involved in the larger digital storytelling capstone project that Christie and Warren are leading, Communicating Tribal Rights and Forwarding Environmental Justice with Local Coast Salish People. The Washington Sea Grant funded project aims to use digital storytelling to showcase stories of Indigenous-led restoration efforts in the Salish Sea, sew strategies on how to recontextualize indigeneity in education (esp. environmental), and document how sovereign tribes in the US and Canada have resisted oil industry development (particularly the TMX pipeline). Living on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Nuu-chah-nulth people are a Coast Salish community that will be directly affected by projects such as the Trans Mountain Expansion Project now owned by the Canadian federal government. It is their stories, their experiences, and their words that need to be included in these narratives and the FLAS Fellowship will offer an entry point into these communities.
Jessica’s background includes over a decade working abroad as a photographer and photojournalist (jessicamrose.com), including documentary filmmaking and blog writing. She spent five years living in various parts of Thailand learning the language, studying local culture/ religion, and using photography to explore the life and traditions of indigenous peoples adjusting to globalization. Her passion for the ocean eventually took her to the island of Cozumel, Mexico where she worked as an underwater photographer and divemaster on the second largest coral reef in the world. Seeing degradation and destruction spread across the Mesoamerican reef, Jessica got involved in coral restoration with local biologists and helped organize the first March for the Ocean as part of her involvement with a team representing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It was her work here that inspired Jessica to pursue a career in environmental justice and community outreach. Jessica will use her grad career and FLAS education to build upon the community-based, collaborative work she has done abroad and apply it to environmental justice work involving Indigenous and First Nation communities in the PNW.