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Tashya Allen, Senior Coastal Hazards Specialist

Tashya Allen

Tashya Allen, Senior Coastal Hazards Specialist.

Tashya Allen: A Day in the Life Donut chart showing the typical work duties of Tashya Allen, Senior Coastal Hazards Specialist. Developing learning products Pink chart segment spanning 50% of the whole: the percentage of time Tashya Allen spends on Developing learning products Preparing presentations and writing Green chart segment spanning 20% of the whole: the percentage of time Tashya Allen spends on Training and Technical Assistance Field work, data collection, and instrument testing Blue chart segment spanning 10% of the whole: the percentage of time Tashya Allen spends on Project management Daily Duties

Donut chart showing how Tashya Allen, Senior Coastal Hazards Specialist, spends his time.

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management was founded to work with a variety of partners to deliver the products, services, and programs most needed by the nation’s coastal communities. Tashya is a trainer and product developer that specializes in risk communication and nature-based strategies.

What are your basic job duties?

As a trainer, I have two focus areas: risk communication and nature-based solutions. I teach people how to communicate about risk in a way that resonates with their audience’s values. I also get to develop products and train on how to use nature-based solutions as a strategy to reduce coastal hazard impacts. I have the best of both worlds as a trainer and product developer because it allows me to share my knowledge and experiences to help others, while I simultaneously learn so much from those who I am helping.

Describe to me how you came to be where you are today in your career.

Fresh out of college, I started as an eager-to-learn intern about 23 years ago. I was lucky to be on projects focused on helping communities assess their risks and vulnerabilities and had a great leader who provided opportunities for me to learn and use what I learned. I continued to work with communities around planning for hazards, learning how to talk about risks in a way that resonates with what people care about and value.

Tell me about when or how you knew you wanted to pursue your current career.

I grew up on the coast and spent many summers boating, crabbing, and playing in the waters in Beaufort, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina. I love the way the ocean, beach, and marsh make you feel. It’s hard to explain but it’s the smells, sounds, and colors that appeal to me. I also moved a lot as a kid, so I learned how to make friends and how to talk to people while adapting to a new situation. I love meeting new people, helping them learn, learning from them, and doing it to protect the coast and its people. It took me a while to get to where I am but it was because of great people believing in me, taking advantage of learning opportunities, and my love of people and nature.

When has your work felt most exciting or rewarding?

After Hurricane Katrina, I had the opportunity to work with a community in Southern Louisiana. It was my first participatory mapping project and our goal was to capture the community’s perspective on what made them resilient so that we could map these features and share the findings with others. I realized how critical local knowledge is in decision-making. It was an experience that has helped shape my future work in community engagement processes.

What would you recommend to those who want to pursue a career in your field?

Get hands on experience. Take training courses that are offered. Find a mentor who is willing to let you learn, explore, and fail.

  • Name: Tashya Allen
  • Location: Charleston, South Carolina
  • Education: B.S. in Geology
  • National Ocean Service Program Office: Office for Coastal Management

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Author: NOAA

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