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USM Graduate Student Selected as Women in Ocean Science Ambassador

Tue, 03/07/2023 - 09:33am | By: Van Arnold

Nimah Osho-Abdulgafar

Nimah Osho-Abdulgafar, a doctoral student in Coastal Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has been selected as a Women in Ocean Science University Ambassador for 2023.

Women in Ocean Science C.I.C. is a non-profit female empowerment organization that aims to break down gender barriers and elevate female voices within the marine science and conservation space. Since 2018, WOS has worked to close the gender gap through education, celebration and empowerment, highlighting the intrinsic link between the need to protect the ocean and the need for a diverse, inclusive workforce of those working to protect it.

Osho-Abdulgafar also serves as a graduate assistant at USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs. A native of Lagos, Nigeria, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Fisheries from Lagos State University (2015) and her Master of Science in Fisheries from Lagos State (2018).

She notes that being recognized as a Women in Science ambassador provides a sense of responsibility to encourage diversity in the field of ocean science.

“I feel motivated to inspire and encourage more female students to pursue careers in this field and to contribute to important scientific research and conservation efforts,” said Osho-Abdulgafar. “Even though it is a gender-based group, it is open to serve the public – meaning the local community, high school students, and USM students interested to learn and inspire through marine science. Everyone is welcome to participate in any of the events that I will be initiating in the coming months.”

Added Dr. Kelly Darnell, Interim Director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, “It is an honor to have Nimah as an Ambassador for Women in Ocean Science at GCRL, and I look forward to supporting and participating in the upcoming initiatives to further encourage diversity at GCRL and in the field of ocean science.”

Osho-Abdulgafar’s primary research area focuses on understanding the population dynamics of Spotted Seatrout in the Gulf Coast region. The research involves analyzing data on the abundance and distribution of the species and examining the effects of fishing and external factors on the species’ abundance.

“This work has significant implications for fishery sustainability and the community that depends on Spotted Seatrout, especially in Mississippi,” she said. “My research aims to develop models and tools that can be used to make informed decisions about the management and conservation of this important species.”

Dr. Robert Leaf, Associate Professor and Interim Associate Director of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, serves as the Department Chair in the Division of Coastal Sciences. As Osho-Abdulgafar’s faculty adviser, he emphasizes the significance of her WOS honor.

“The faculty and administration of the Division of Coastal Sciences is committed to providing world class research and educational opportunities to students without regard to their identity, for the benefit of the citizens of our state. Ms. Osho-Abdulgafar’s efforts to support women in pursuing careers in Marine Science will surely be invaluable in this respect.”

To learn more about Women in Ocean Science, visit: