2016 Next Generation Champion of the Chesapeake
Kim Hernandez was born and raised in Hutchinson, Kansas where she graduated from Hutchinson High School’s International Baccalaureate Program in 2006. Kim went on to study Environmental Studies and International Studies at the University of Kansas. Unlike most students who complete their undergraduate degrees in land-locked Kansas, Kim decided during a semester abroad in Australia to pursue a career in marine conservation. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in 2010 and sought several opportunities to explore this interest, including volunteering in Ecuador, backpacking Europe, and caring for sea turtles at Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida. In 2012 Kim began her graduate degree at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in North Carolina where she focused on sea turtle conservation, long-term sea level rise planning, and geographic information systems (GIS). She completed the Masters of Environmental Management program with a concentration in Coastal Environmental Management and a Certificate of Geospatial Analysis in 2014.
Through years of study and travel, Kim realized at Duke that her true passion is connecting people to places and inspiring stewardship of those places. This realization led her to pursue the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Management Fellowship. In August 2014, she joined the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake and Coastal Service as their 2014-2016 Coastal Management Fellow, where she was tasked with helping the unit better integrate data into decision-making. Within this work she was able to help advance the designation of the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary.