The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team in the Gulf of Mexico has added a communications specialist to its team. Tara Skelton will serve as the full-time communications leader for the team. Her office will be in Ocean Springs, Miss., in the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant administrative office at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Lab.
Skelton has extensive experience as a contractor writing for the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), CONCORDE (a GoMRI-funded consortium), USM’s Gulf Coast Research Lab and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. She also has contributed to Mississippi Magazine and South Mississippi Living magazine and has worked in public relations, marketing and grant writing.
Skelton will collaborate with other communicators within GoMRI and the regional and national Sea Grant network. She will develop and distribute announcements and press releases about team activities and edit outreach materials. Skelton will oversee the design, print and translation of publications. She will also work to expand the Sea Grant oil spill website.
“Scientists continue to study the impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” she said. “I look forward to working with the Sea Grant team to create custom outreach products to update concerned coastal residents and other stakeholders regarding the Gulf’s ecological health.”
With a master’s degree in English education, Skelton has taught both middle-school and high-school students. She received her master’s degree from Wake Forest University and her bachelor’s degree in English from Sewanee: The University of the South.
“Tara brings a wealth of communication experience with her to the GoMRI and Sea Grant regional partnership,” LaDon Swann, director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, said. “She has a very good understanding of Sea Grant and GoMRI through past work experiences. She joins a team of highly dedicated extension staff committed to extending valid scientific findings to coastal communities around the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. We are very happy to have Tara join our team.”
The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team is made up of four oil spill science outreach specialists, a team manager and Skelton. The team started as a two-year pilot program in 2014 and is funded by GoMRI, which is administered by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.
Skelton can be reached at Tara.Skelton@usm.edu or 228-818-8825.