URI Coastal Institute Announces Associate Director Appointments

The URI Coastal Institute announces the appointments of three new Associate Directors who will serve as CI advisors and carry out stipend-supported research activities to further the Institute’s community-based coastal science mission. The new URI appointees are Christopher Baxter, Emily Diamond, and Rebecca Robinson, and they will serve three-year terms as Associate Directors.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome our new associate directors to URI CI,” says URI CI Director Elin Torell. “Part of what makes CI special is our commitment to providing opportunity for new blood, new ideas and interdisciplinary approaches to inform our aims because doing so strengthens our programs.”

Christopher Baxter, a joint Professor in the URI Departments of Ocean/Civil and Environmental Engineering, has served in several leadership roles within the departments, and specializes in marine geotechnics and coastal resilience, among other areas. Baxter is “an experimentalist” who has worked closely “on characterizing unique or difficult soils” in a variety of places – including Rhode Island, Maine and Puerto Rico, and the North and Caspian Seas. He has received numerous funding awards and enjoys teaching civil and ocean engineering students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Read his bio.


Emily Diamond, an assistant professor at URI in Communication Studies and Marine Affairs, focuses on environmental and science communication, especially in the context of pressing issues such as climate change. She says she is interested in understanding “how messaging influences environmental attitudes and behaviors, risk perceptions, and policy preferences,” and is “particularly interested in applied research – working with community groups, policymakers, and stakeholders to provide insights to navigate the environmental threats facing their communities.” Diamond shares her expertise by teaching courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Read her bio.


Rebecca Robinson, a professor of Oceanography within the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (URI GSO), has expertise in marine geology and geophysics and studies the chemical cycles of nitrogen and carbon in the ocean. Researching these cycles is important, she says for informing our efforts to protect the ocean’s productivity, address the challenges of climate change, and improve human interactions with the systems. Her laboratory works to “understand the roles and responses of climate and ocean circulation on the oceanic nitrogen and carbon cycles and the feedbacks within them,” as well as “biogeochemical cycling in the modern oceans.” Robinson serves as student instructor and advisor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Read her bio.

The appointees are joined by continuing URI CI Associate Director Emi Uchida, a URI professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. The URI CI recently celebrated the efforts of several retiring Associate Directors: Art Gold, a professor emeritus of the URI Department of Natural Resources Science; John King, a professor emeritus of URI GSO; and Charles Roman, National Park Service retiree and professor in residence of URI.