COASST, Staff Profile

Staff profile: Rachel Cohen

When Rachel Cohen joined the COASST intern program in 2019 (at the end of her senior year at the University of Washington) she didn’t know that it would lead to a job in marine science!

As an intern Rachel assisted COASST staff with marine debris experiments on local Seattle beaches and assembled debris survey kits for new participants (applying her sailing expertise as she bundled our 5-meter ropes).

At the end of her internship Rachel flew off to Hakodate, Japan for a summer course at Hokkaido University, where she learned about Japanese kelp fisheries, experimental aquaculture, and even how to squid jig. Rachel also spent time on the Oshoro Maru research vessel where she learned about debris drift patterns.

After traveling through Southeast Asia, Rachel returned to the US and found that her former teammates at COASST were looking for a marine debris-focused AmeriCorps member.

“I was excited to find out what the marine debris data could tell us. I am interested in the debris load on our beaches and if we are moving towards a healthier future for the ocean ecosystems.”

The COASST/AmeriCorps position is all about serving a community, and this month Rachel is jumping into the world of COASST marine debris science with both feet. Keep an eye out for new blog posts, emails, and webinar topics about marine debris data stories that COASST has been developing!

Over the next 10 months Rachel will also be working on verifying the data collected by marine debris surveyors. If you have questions about data and data entry, you can connect with Rachel at And she just might reach out to you first to say hello and chat about your great survey data!

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