Beth Lenz
Beth Lenz

To more effectively address the persistence of societal inequities due to systemic racism and colonialism, the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant) created a new, full-time senior leadership position. Beth Lenz has been selected to serve as its inaugural assistant director for diversity and community engagement.

The Sea Grant network, which is comprised of 34 university-based programs in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, and Guam, has placed increased emphasis on incorporating diverse perspectives and inclusivity. This position is one of the first of its kind in the network and will foster more equitable and sustainable resource management.

After completing her PhD at UH Mānoa, Lenz spent the past year in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. as a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.

Throughout her career, Lenz has blended her passion for marine science with projects designed to break down barriers to inclusion that are often inherent in the sciences.

While pursuing her PhD, she led a two-year project blending art and science which culminated in a free public event in downtown Honolulu and inspired people of different backgrounds to appreciate and gain an interest in marine science. In her position within the Legislative Branch, she took the opportunity to support the Natural Resources Committee’s Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommitee in implementing anti-racist strategies; expanding the diversity of witnesses invited to committee activities; and ensuring equity in legislation to empower under-resourced communities.

“I am excited to support Hawaiʻi Sea Grant in this new role that champions institutional change,” said Lenz. “By setting high standards that ensure accountability and incorporate all voices, we will maintain a productive and conducive program that better reflects the communities we serve. I hope to demonstrate to other programs the value and need to invest in positions like this. I look forward to returning to Hawaiʻi and developing inclusive, fun and creative strategies that strengthen our work at the intersection of scientific research, education, policy and management.”

For more information, see Hawaiʻi Sea Grant’s website.

–By Cindy Knapman