Bess is a doctoral student in geography at Florida State University under the advisement of Dr. Sarah Lester. As a former Research Fellow with the Sustainable Fisheries Group, Bess contributed to a variety of projects on marine spatial planning, fisheries assessment, and sustainable aquaculture. She continues to collaborate with the SFG team, currently working on an aquaculture development project in the Caribbean. Bess earned a master's in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, specializing in coastal marine resources management and conservation planning. As a master's student, she interned for SFG and the McClintock Lab (UCSB) working on marine spatial planning projects in Bermuda and Curaçao, respectively. Her research interests include marine spatial planning, participatory mapping, aquaculture development, and coastal resiliency. Bess holds a B.A. in Economics from Washington & Lee University and has previously worked as a marine tourism consultant for the Waitt Institute, an ocean policy intern for the Marine Conservation Institute, and a conservation intern for the Henry's Fork Foundation.