Nicole Motzer

Assistant Director for Interdisciplinary Science

Dr. Nicole Motzer (she/her) is the Assistant Director for Interdisciplinary Science at SESYNC. In this role, Nicole facilitates synthesis research projects and meetings for dozens of teams and hundreds of scholars from across disciplines and around the world. She specializes in creating and leading first-of-their-kind training opportunities for graduate students to practice interdisciplinary socio-environmental research and build critical synthesis and collaboration skills. She is especially passionate about furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. Nicole is also an active interdisciplinary collaborator herself. Her most recent projects include: co-developing a framework and methodology for interdisciplinary evaluation, for which Michigan State University’s Center for Interdisciplinarity offered her a visiting fellowship in 2019; co-creating a networked approach for graduate sustainability leadership training programs that integrates best practices and resources into a shared, open-access platform; and co-leading a longitudinal study to advance outcomes for synthesis-based graduate education and research opportunities at institutional and national scales. The National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have supported additional interdisciplinary work of Nicole’s, while the National Academies sought her counsel on matters of convergence. Nicole earned a doctorate in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017. Her diverse research background ranges from assessing the effects of nature-based tourism on poverty and inequality in southern Africa, to investigating how food system regionalization and gender dynamics shape rural development processes in the Rocky Mountain West, to surveying trees on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and mapping invasive species in the Florida Everglades.

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Photo of Nicole Motzer
2016 - 2021
Areas of Expertise
human geography
socio-environmental systems
research-program management
research facilitation
interdisciplinary graduate training
curriculum design
Research Interests
food and agriculture systems
interdisciplinary evaluation
marine spatial planning
diversity, equity, and inclusion
Methods of Expertise
mixed methods
qualitative methods
survey and interview design and analysis
socio-environmental synthesis research