Climate science leader expands Extension role
BILOXI, Miss. -- Renee Collini began her role with the Mississippi State University Extension Service as a climate science educator Jan. 1.
Collini, who has served as an Extension associate since 2018 while working on her doctorate at MSU, will continue her work to help observe, understand and manage for sea-level rise. She is located in the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.
Collini will develop and deliver Extension programs to help coastal decision-makers understand sea-level rise and related issues, including worsened storm surge, more frequent high-tide flooding, and how to integrate climate science into decision-making.
As the program coordinator for the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, Collini serves as a liaison between researchers and decision-makers at local, state, regional and national levels. A program of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the cooperative focuses on improving the ability of scientists, community leaders and resource managers to handle sea-level rise and coastal flooding. MSU is one of nine universities and academic institutions that partner with the consortium to provide research and education to coastal communities.
One of Collini’s programs, SLR in the Classroom, teaches students and educators the basics of sea-level rise and how to apply natural, planning, and policy and ordinance solutions that increase community resilience to rising seas. Another program, Resilience to Future Flooding, works with coastal communities in Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida to assess their risk for flooding and to enhance community preparedness by reducing communication and fiscal barriers.
Collini is a leader in Extension’s sea-level rise efforts. She serves on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Community Resilience and Habitat Teams, is an elected director to the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Board of Directors and is a leader in the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice. She has spearheaded projects and efforts that improved community resilience to sea-level rise and flooding and developed tools that have been used nationally.
Collini holds a bachelor’s in biology from the University of Texas at Dallas, a master’s in marine science from the University of South Alabama and is working on a doctorate in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture at MSU.