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About The RISE Center

In January 2017, Coastal Carolina University, in partnership with the North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and Georgetown County, founded RISE - a United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development. RISE (Resilience, Innovation, and Sustainability through Education) assists Georgetown County and other local governments, community organizations, and businesses to use and measure sustainable development goals. Faculty, NERR staff, and community members work in collaboration to enhance knowledge, research, and experiential learning on sustainable development in S.C.

The United Nations Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) were created in 2003 in response to the Decade for Sustainable Development to further generate, accelerate and mainstream global objectives into the context of the local communities in which they operate. There are 200 UN RCEs around the globe. UN RCE Georgetown, locally known as RISE, is the only one in the coastal Southeastern U.S. RISE promotes science-based research and decision-making by unifying community members, educators, businesses, elected officials, and youth within the county to initiate a sustainable and resilient future for Georgetown County.

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    Pamela Martin, Ph.D., Executive Director

Our Mission

To localize and adapt the UN Sustainable Development Goals for communities, businesses, and organizations in S.C.

The Network

The RCE network brings together multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary members who might not usually work together. As such, RCEs are uniquely placed to help create solutions to sustainability challenges through dialogue, education and learning. They are highly influential policy advocates, able to test policies individually and work collectively to bring policy to scale and to provide advice on future actions.

Through these efforts, RCEs help prepare local leaders of tomorrow with the tools and information they need to make smart and sustainable choices for the future. RCE efforts encourage innovation and new approaches to sustainable development. They translate existing knowledge into concrete actions and empower individuals to make sustainable choices for themselves and their communities.

The success each RCE achieves on the local level is brought to scale through the global RCE Network worldwide. Local knowledge, expertise, and best practices are shared globally through the network and can be adapted and applied successfully in other regions. RCEs also play a central role in the transfer of global technologies, knowledge, and experiences at the local level through their programs and activities.

Where are the RCEs?

RCE map

Our Members

Pam Martin or Pamela Martin

Pamela Martin. Ph.D.
Executive Director



Michelle Dzurenda, Ph.D.
Programs Coordinator



Anthony P. Setari, Ph.D.
Data Coordinator



Maeve Snyder imageMaeve Snyder
Coastal Community Training Program Coordinator for the North Inlet Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Tanja Warren
Operations Manager


Our Partners

Six Axis LogoBunnelle Foundation LogoCoastal Carolina University Logo Trademark Sustain SC logo

Our Affiliated Faculty

Name: Pamela L. Martin (Pam)  

Affiliation: Professor of Political Science and Sustainability and Coastal Resilience, Coastal Carolina University 

Degree: Ph.D. Political Science from University of Maryland, College Park 

Contact information: plmartin@coastal.edu; 843-349-2966 

Expertise/Research Areas: Energy policy, environmental policy, environmental law, global environmental politics and policy, sustainable development analysis and reporting, resilience analysis and reporting 

Special Skills: Strategic Planning for sustainable and resilient organization development; policy analysis 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: Rights of Nature: Strategies for Building a More Sustainable Future:  https://direct.mit.edu/books/oa-monograph/5158/The-Politics-of-Rights-of-NatureStrategies-for; Public Dashboard for Georgetown County, SC on Sustainable Development with Derrick Storzieri and Anthony Setari: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/georgetown.rise/viz/UNSDGDashboard2020PRIME/HomeBoard 

RISE/UN RCE website at CCU: www.coastal.edu/RISE 

Name: Victoria DePalma 

Affiliation: Assistant Professor of Honors and Sustainability and Coastal Resilience, HTC Honors College, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC 

Degrees: PhD in Environmental Science from University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 

  1. S. in Biochemistry from Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Contact Information: vdepalma@coastal.edu; 843-349-2774 

Expertise/Research Areas: Environmental Perceptions, Climate Change Communication, Environmental Psychology, Environmental Philosophy, Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration 

Special Skills: Survey Design and Analysis, Interviews, TDI workshops https://tdi.msu.edu/  

Links to publications/data that is relevant: https://www.coastal.edu/academics/facultyprofiles/honorscollege/victoriadepalma/  

 Name: Alli Crandell 

Affiliation: Director of The Athenaeum Press, Interim Director of the Joyner Institute for Gullah and African Diaspora Studies 

Degree: MS Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech 

Contact information: acrandell@coastal.edu 

Expertise/Research Areas: Experiential learning, experimental publishing, digital humanities 

Special Skills: cultural interpretation consulting, grant writing, print and web production 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: https://coastal.edu/joynerinstitute ; https://ccu.press  

Name: Sara Rich 

Affiliation: Assistant Professor of Honors, HTC Honors College; Chair of CCU’s Bicycle Advisory Council; Chair of Indigenize SC Education Task Force 

Degree: Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium 

Contact information: srich2@coastal.edu  

Expertise/Research Areas: archaeology, art history, blue humanities, post-colonialism 

Name: Anthony P. Setari 

Affiliation: Assistant Professor of Educational Research Methods, Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences 

Degree: Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Education Sciences – Education Policy, Measurement, & Evaluation, University of Kentucky 

Contact information: asetari@coastal.edu 

Expertise/Research Areas: Education Policy, Program Evaluation, Quantitative Research, Poverty and Inequality  

Special Skills: Data Dashboards, Survey/Scale/Test Development, Psychometric Validation 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: Public Dashboard for Georgetown County, SC on Sustainable Development with Pam Martin and Derrick Storzieri https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/georgetown.rise/viz/UNSDGDashboard2020PRIME/HomeBoard 

Name: Min Ye 

Affiliation: Professor of Political Science, Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences 

Degree: Ph.D., Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 

Contact information: mye@coastal.edu 

Expertise/Research Areas: Foreign policy analysis, international relations, research method, Asian politics  

Special Skills: Data analysis 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: http://ww2.coastal.edu/mye/index.html 

Name: Jaime McCauley  

Affiliation: Associate Professor of Sociology, Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences 

Degree: Ph.D. Sociology and Social Justice, University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada) 

Expertise/Research Areas: Social movements and social change, social inequality, environmental sociology 

Special Skills: Program Director for Social Justice Research Initiative  

Links to publications/data that are relevant: 

Name: Regina E. Ciphrah, Ph.D. 

Degree(s): Ph.D. Integrative Biology from University of South Carolina 

Expertise/Research Areas: STEM education research and evaluation; Culturally Sustaining STEM curriculum development, curriculum implementation, and professional development; competency-based learning; accreditation (SACSCOC, CAEP/SPA) 

Special Skills: youth engagement; fostering traditional face-to-face and online learning communities, maximizing continuous improvement assessment strategies, facilitating professional learning & coaching, and enhancing STEM education capacity 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: https://www.verbalizingvisions.com/projects | https://www.drginabelle.com/about-drginabelle  

Name: Melissa Clark 

Affiliation: Professor of Marketing, Wall College of Business, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC 

Degrees: Ph.D. in Marketing, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS 

Contact Information: mclark2@coastal.edu; 843-349-2662 

Expertise/Research Areas: Business Sustainability; Sustainable Hospitality/Eco-Tourism; Relationship Marketing; Social Media Marketing 

Special Skills: Survey Design; Data Analysis including SEM 

Links to publications/data that is relevant: https://www.coastal.edu/academics/facultyprofiles/business/marketingandhospitalityresortandtourismmanagement/melissaclark/ 

Name: Jacqueline Kurlowski 

Affiliation: Director, Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Instructor, Department of Politics, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC 

Degrees: M.P.A, Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs, University of Missouri 

Contact Information: jamkurlow@coastal.edu; 843-349-6952 

Expertise/Research Areas: Social Policy, Grant Writing, Food Insecurity 

Special Skills: Quasi-experimental design methods, Survey Design, Community-impact models 

Links to publications/data that is relevant: https://www.coastal.edu/academics/facultyprofiles/humanities/politics/jacquelinekurlowski/facultyprofile.php 

 Name: Richard Aidoo 

Affiliation: Professor of Political Science, Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences 

Degree: Ph.D., Political Science, Miami University, Ohio 

Contact information: raidoo@coastal.edu 

Expertise/Research Areas: International Relations, Development and Human Security, China-Africa Relations, African Politics  

Special Skills: Qualitative Research 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: https://www.coastal.edu/academics/facultyprofiles/humanities/politics/richardaidoo/facultyprofile.php 

Name: Skip J. Van Bloem 

Affiliation: Professor of Forest Ecology; Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, Clemson University, Georgetown, SC 

Degree: Ph.D. Botany and Ecology; Michigan State University 

Contact information: skipvb@clemson.edu 843.235.2668 

Expertise/Research Areas: Forest Ecology, Disturbance Ecology particularly from hurricanes and high winds, tree physiology, tropical forestry 

Special Skills: Program development, ecosystem ecology 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: https://works.bepress.com/skip-vanbloem/3/  



 Name: Michelle Dzurenda 

Affiliation: Instructor for the College of Education and Social Sciences 

Degree: Ph.D in Education Sciences 

Contact information: madzuren@coastal.edu 

Expertise/Research Areas: Education in Sustainable Development; Food Insecurity; Educational Leadership- preparing pre-service teachers as leaders; Student engagement and retention in first year higher education; Physical Education and health education 

Special Skills: Data design 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: Data Dashboard and Food Insecurity in Georgetown County (to be completed fall 2021) 

Name: Russell Fielding  

Affiliation: Assistant Professor, HTC Honors College 

Degree: PhD, Geography, Louisiana State University, 2010; MA, Geography, University of Montana, 2005; BS, Computer Science, University of Florida, 2000. 

Contact information: rfielding@coastal.edu  

Expertise/Research Areas: Human-environment interactions, environmental policy, environmental health, small island developing states (SIDS), island studies, fisheries and whaling, tropical agriculture  

Special Skills: fieldwork, GIS, field-based teaching 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: https://www.russellfielding.com/cv-and-publications  

Name: Daniel C. Abel   

Affiliation: Professor, Dept, of Marine Science  

Degree: Ph.D., Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, 1986; M.Sc., Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 1981; B.Sc., Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 1978  

Contact information: dabel@coastal.edu  

Expertise/Research Areas: Biology and conservation of sharks, environmental science, sustainability across the curriculum 

Special Skills: Implementing sustainability across the curriculum; field-oriented education, environmental education 

Links to publications/data that are relevant:  https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/shark-biology-and-conservation and  https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3ADaniel+C.+Abel&s=relevancerank&text=Daniel+C.+Abel&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1 

 Name:  Janae Davis 

Affiliation: Associate Director of Conservation, American Rivers 

Degree: Ph.D. Geography, Clark University, Worcester, MA 

Contact information: jdavis@americanrivers.org, 843.999.0182 

Expertise/Research Areas: Political ecology, equitable conservation practices, race and the environment, environmental history, black ecologies, water resources, environmental justice 

Special Skills: theory to practice, community engagement, qualitative data collection and analysis 

Links to publications/data that are relevant:Anthropocene, Capitalocene, ... Plantationocene?: A Manifesto for Ecological Justice in an Age of Global Crises; Race, land and freedom; Black faces, black spaces: Rethinking African American underrepresentation in wildland spaces and outdoor recreation 

Name: Ina C. Seethaler 

Affiliation: Associate Professor and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies 

Degree: Ph.D. in English with a graduate minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, Saint Louis University 

Contact Info: iseethale@coastal.edu; 843-349-6919 

Expertise/Research Areas: story telling/life writing for social change; community activism; Gender Studies; intersectionality 

Special Skills: multilingual; qualitative research methods; feminist theory/pedagogy  

Links to publications/data that are relevant 




 Name: James Ndone 

Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Media, and Culture 

Degree: Ph.D. in Journalism (specialty: crisis communication), University of Missouri, Columbia 

Contact Info: jndone@coastal.edu; 309-530-3287 

Expertise/Research Area: Crisis communication (the role of emotions in crisis), public relations, and health communication message designs 

Special Skills: Multilingual, quantitative research methods, experimental designs, data analysis 

Links to publications/data that are relevant: 

The mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy in the ...https://www.sciencedirect.com › science › article › abs › pii 




...to protect our infrastructure from natural disasters with solutions and resources.


...to be dynamic in addressing the challenges specific to the county.


...to protect and preserve the natural environment, heritage, and pristine resources of Georgetown County.


...to guide our community in science-based research and decision-making.