Coast Guard
Eva Lipiec ’10 keeps Congress briefed on threats to the coastal U.S.
by Andrew Faught
When Superstorm Sandy lashed the East Coast in 2012, the Rockaway Beach, N.Y., childhood home of Eva Lipiec ’10 bore some of the worst of the devastation. The tragedy set Lipiec on a new career path.
Eva Lipiec in front of the capitol
Photo: Dylan McDowell
During her Sea Grant fellowship last year Eva Lipiec ’10 advised congressional representatives.
“I’m a big fan of the beach, a big fan of the lifestyle,” says the once-aspiring archaeologist. In February she became an analyst for the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress that provides nonpartisan analysis to lawmakers, who can use the information to address coastal issues.

For the CRS, Lipiec studies ecosystem restoration and coastal resilience. (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates there are 95,471 miles of shoreline in the United States, a figure that includes the edges of lakes, bays and rivers.)

With a master’s degree in marine resources management from Oregon State University, Lipiec remains guided by a singular question: Are humans adapting — or failing to adapt — to increasingly dramatic weather events? She says the aftermath of Sandy has forced her to reconsider coastal living in the age of climate change.

“It really brings it home when there’s 5 feet of water going through your house,” she says. “I looked at it very emotionally, but I also asked, ‘Why did this happen from a scientific and policy perspective?’ ”

Previously, she held a prestigious yearlong Sea Grant fellowship, advising members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lipiec’s work has its roots at Bucknell, where the geology major traipsed the Grand Canyon and Utah’s San Rafael Swell during department-organized camping trips.

“I was mapping geology and walking around and learning from professors and other students,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘Wow, I can make a career of spending my life looking at the history of the land and understanding the impacts we’re experiencing today.’ ”