written by Emma Morrow
Kara Coffey is the Research Associate for the Socio-economics Group (SEG) at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. In this position, Kara works alongside her SEG team members to collect socio-economic information, plan and host stakeholder workshops, and galvanize research partnerships and opportunities. She also assists interns, PhD, Master’s, and undergraduate students working within the Group. Her favorite thing about working with the SEG is the ability to interact with the wider community. She loves getting to know the diverse people of Corpus Christi as well as other areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
Kara holds a Masters of Environmental Science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. In 2016, she graduated from Texas A&M University with her Bachelors of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. During her undergraduate studies, she realized the importance of the interconnection between humans and nature, which led to her interest in socio-economics. “That’s when I started viewing everything more holistically. Everything affects everything.”
After graduating with her BS, she joined the Texas Conservation Corps in Austin as a Young Crew Leader to lead high school students and recent graduates as they focused on local environmental projects, such as trail improvement and habitat restoration projects, while also building conversation skills and engagement in environmental education.
In 2016, she and her husband Aaron, along with their two dogs, Peaches and Lola, and horse Sonny, relocated to Corpus Christi where Kara started working with the SEG. Her advice to anyone pursuing a similar field or career path is, “You never know who you’ll meet, so remember to always present yourself well and to be yourself. And hard work never goes unnoticed… You can do many different things [in this field], be open to exploring your different interests.”
Kara has a passion for wildlife and nature, which is what makes her such a great fit within the SEG. She unwinds outside, especially when horseback riding. She enjoys spending her free time with her fur family. She and her husband love to travel to State Parks to camp and experience nature.
In the future, Kara would love to accumulate land to house all her animals and those yet to come, so she may live out her dream of having her own zoo. Professionally, she wants to continue to grow and learn more in her career and to continue to strengthen relationships with stakeholders, her community, and colleagues around the Gulf of Mexico.