Autumn Poisson

Updated 2018/08/16

Ph.D. Student (Graduate Research Assistant)
Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
North Carolina State University
Mann Hall, Room 424
2501 Stinson Drive
Raleigh NC 27607

I am a first year PhD student in the CCHT at North Carolina State University. I am originally from Michigan where we have a different kind of coastline, but a very large one none the less. Living near the Great Lakes, my love for the natural environment was always present. I studied environmental science and mathematics at the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree and then ecology for my masters. After graduating, I worked with various organizations on things related to environmental education, communication and outreach, and fresh water studies, and in a more pivotal position working on a coastal watershed restoration project on a small island in the Pacific Ocean. It was here where I fell in love with that other coast, the salty one. Afterward, I worked in landscape limnology (freshwater) research at Michigan State University with some truly amazing people who helped me develop an interest in the research process. From there I decided I needed a new challenge and needed to develop my own research interests, so I decided to apply to go back to school for my PhD.

During the start of my PhD, I will be working on the the NSF project “Subgrid-Scale Corrections to Increase the Accuracy and Efficiency of Storm Surge Models,” which has the goal of incorporating the more nuanced structure of coastal landscapes available in higher resolution storm surge models into broader scaled models thus reducing computation times while also maintaining model accuracy. Since I am just starting, my research interests have not been fully formed and are still rather broad. However, I hope to use my numerical modeling and quantitative skills to assist coastal communities as they prepare for the unforeseen changes they will experience. This includes learning more about coastal processes and coastal modeling to understand how storm events and subsequent storm surge will impact and alter the coastal landscape.

In addition to my work at NC State, I am also passionate about my personal health and fitness so I spend most of my free time either at the gym or cooking in the kitchen. I also love to read and spend time in the outdoors. I hope to experience all that North Carolina has to offer from the mountains to the sea.


Doctor of Philosophy, Civil Engineering

Master of Science, Conservation Ecology

  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2014
  • Specialization in Aquatic Sciences and Environmental Health

Bachelor of Science, Environmental Science

  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011
  • Minor in Mathematics

Professional Experience

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

  • Project Manager, November 2016 to August 2018
    • The main goal of this position is supporting the Continental Limnology research project by planning, implementing and tracking many components of the project and team activities. Work involves setting up meetings, sharing data and other information, working with team members on research projects, co-writing manuscripts and participating in database management. Operate at the main point of contact for the MSU Data Intensive lab by providing monthly financial reporting, assisting with hiring staff members and students, purchasing supplies and assisting with other tasks as needed.

Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Rota, CNMI

  • Coral Reef Management Fellow, January 2016 to November 2016
    • Assist with updating and implementation of the Talakhaya Watershed Conservation Action Plan (CAP); help identify best management practices. Develop and conduct thorough stream and coastal water-monitoring plan in the watershed. Compose reforestation plan to aid the transitioning to native and endemic planting in the watershed, which suffers from erosion. Other tasks include creating GIS data layers of the watershed to visualize the changes occurring in the watershed over the course of the reforestation plan. Assist with education and outreach related activities to bolster community investment and awareness of the Talakhaya revegetation project.

Michigan Sea Grant, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Education Project Coordinator, March 2014 to January 2016
    • Managed, successfully funded and coordinated the GLOS (Great Lakes Observing System) education project by communicating with project team and providing resources and guidance as necessary. Completed monthly summary reports on activities to guide semi-annual summary reports to project sponsor. Developed questionnaires and surveys to collect and synthesis data to evaluate and update the Teaching Great Lakes Science lessons and data sets. Enhanced these resources by creating and updating lessons including the “Describing Water Quality” lesson and activity. Wrote grant proposals for to continue funding education projects received over 50k from GLOS.

Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Communications & Outreach Coordinator, August 2014 to January 2016
    • Prepared and monitored financial reports and account expenditures for research projects funding totaling over $10 million and helped manage projects by coordinating research related activities. Planned and coordinated meetings with team members, receptions, programs and events; order/organize office supplies. Developed various outreach materials including updating the CILER website, facilitating stakeholder involvement and creating fliers and educational pamphlets to improve CILERs outreach efforts.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

ORCID: ​0000-0002-8444-1609

  1. KS Cheruvelil, T Wagner, KE Webster, KBS King, AC Poisson. Macroscale spatial patterns and drivers of phosphorus and chlorophyll in shallow lakes, in preparation.
  2. AC Poisson, IM McCullough, PA Soranno, KS Cheruvelil, JA Latimore, KE Elliot (2019). “Quantifying the Contribution of Citizen Science to Broad-scale Ecological Databases,” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Published: Early View
  3. PA Soranno, [et al, including AC Poisson] (2017). “LAGOS-NE: A multi-scaled geospatial and temporal database of lake ecological context and water quality for thousands of U.S. lakes,” Gigascience, 6(12), 1–22.

Outreach within Broader Community

  1. PA Soranno, AC Poisson. “Using citizen science data for lake water quality research to inform policy.” 13th Annual Conference of the Michigan Clean Water Corps, Tustin, Michigan, November 2017
  2. AC Poisson. “Teaching Great Lakes Science & The Next Generation Science Standards.” Michigan Science Teachers Association Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 2015.
  3. AC Poisson, E Spooner. “Great Lakes FieldScope 101.” North East Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Networking Meeting, Alpena, Michigan, February 2015.
  4. AC Poisson. “Touching, Seeing and Smelling a Fisheries Lesson: All Aboard the Summer Discovery Fisheries Cruise.” Michigan Science Teachers Association Summer Newsletter, 2014.

Skills and Certifications

  • Communication:
    • Exceptional written, individual & group presentation skills
  • Software:
    • Python
    • ArcGIS
    • Microsoft Access
    • Microsoft Office
    • R
    • SPSS
  • Water Quality Sampling:
    • Hach Portable Flow Meter
    • Hach Turbidimeter
    • Hand-held YSI
  • PADI Open Water Diver

Honors & Awards​

  • Provost’s Doctoral Fellowship, NC State, 2018
  • School of Public Health Dean’s Scholarship Award, University of Michigan, 2012, 2013
  • Michigan Competitive Scholarship, 2009, 2010
  • Michigan Promise Award, 2008, 2009
  • George M. Landes Prize for Technical Communication, University of Michigan, 2008