Jenna Jambeck, associate professor of environmental engineering at UGA, has been selected for a Faculty Fellowship with UGA’s Office of Public Service and Outreach.

As part of the Fellowship, Jambeck will collaborate with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s water quality program coordinator Katy Smith on a marine debris project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Smith’s project, “Salt Marsh Soldiers Tackle Marine Debris in Coastal Georgia,” is designed to engage middle school students and the Brunswick community by sharing research and providing educational resources on marine debris. Jambeck will visit the coast during the winter semester to teach students at Glynn Middle School how to use the Marine Debris Tracker app she created, which allows users to record information about marine debris. Throughout the semester, the students will use to app to record the type and location of debris collected during monthly cleanup activities.

Jambeck’s research interests on microplastics and the movement of marine debris through watersheds line up with extension efforts to communicate the latest findings and identify and implement local solutions to reduce marine debris along the coast. These intersecting research and outreach initiatives will enhance local education and potentially contribute toward new policies to manage, protect and enhance coastal resources.