Tara Blakey

Degree: Ph.D. in Geoscience

College/School: School of Environment, Arts and Society; College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Tara Blakey always had a knack for math and science. She also liked people and was fascinated by details in her surroundings that often go unnoticed — roads, water distribution networks and other things that allow communities to function and prosper.

Tara pursued a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in transportation studies. Understanding the interconnectedness of the urban and natural environments, she enrolled at FIU to pursue a Ph.D. in geosciences with a concentration in hydrology.

As a research assistant in FIU’s WaterSCAPES program, Tara studied the water quality of estuaries in the Florida Everglades using space-borne satellites. Among her academic accomplishments, Tara worked at NASA’s Goddard Biospheric Sciences Lab, supervising high school interns and publishing a paper on climate change and trophic cascades. She has published two peer-reviewed journal articles and presented her findings at conferences. Tara also earned a McKnight Dissertation Fellowship.

While finishing her dissertation manuscript, under the mentorship of Professor Assefa Melesse, Tara gave birth to her first child in January 2015. Even with the demands of a newborn son, she successfully completed her dissertation, as well as a third journal article. Tara hopes to build a career where she can address some of today’s most critical issues with sustainable solutions that can benefit her son’s generation and future generations to come.