Deb Trefts ’80
Policy Scientist

Deb Trefts
Deb Trefts specializes in marine and environmental policy, science, law and management. After representing various nations at model UNs and working for her Ohio congressman in Washington during high school, she majored in political science at Wellesley.

Her love of sailing and water-related recreation led to a semester of maritime studies at Mystic Seaport (including literature, history, policy, science, celestial navigation and boat-building), a Wellesley senior thesis on the developing law of the sea, and participation in UN negotiations on the law of the sea, straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, and environment and development.

Hooked on the Williams College-Mystic Seaport multidisciplinary approach to learning, she has been navigating the choppy, sometimes treacherous waters of marine conservation ever since. Her foray into comedy improv was inspired by a hilarious water quality-themed dinner show during an environmental conference.

Deb’s professional aspirations have turned her into an interdisciplinary “policy scientist” with graduate degrees in marine and environmental law, policy and science from Vermont Law School, the University of Washington, and Yale University. This training has been invaluable for her wide-ranging government, university, consulting, non-profit and communications work. Among the issues she has focused on are ocean governance and stewardship, shipwrecks (including the R.M.S. Titanic), offshore oil and gas, water pollution, marine protected areas, aquaculture, overfishing, ecosystem change over time, and ecosystem-based management. Most recently, having developed a national sustainable seafood program for WWF –Canada (World Wildlife Fund) and reported on contemporary issues and women’s professional issues for Chautauqua Institution’s seasonal daily newspaper, Deb is on sabbatical designing a broadly interdisciplinary and multimedia project, Changes in Air- & Waterways, Changes in Coasts and Seas.