McKenna, Watson are recipients of new Gallagher Family Fellowship

July 17, 2014

Rutgers Universlty’s New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is pleased to announce the establishment of the James J. Gallagher Family Fellowship and recognize the first recipients of the fellowship.

The new fellowship will allow graduate students from Rutgers University interested in climate change preparedness measures to undertake projects to help advance the mission and objectives of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance.


Dr. James Gallagher is a long-time environmental advocate.

Dr. James Gallagher is a long-time environmental advocate.

Dr. James J. Gallagher, a long-time environmental advocate, is originally from New York and currently resides in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. A graduate of Villanova and New York universities after serving as a combat infantry sergeant in Korea, Dr. Gallagher’s work has spanned public relations, corporate consulting, higher education, and philanthropy. The longest of his three different careers included founding, and serving as manager for 20 years, a specialized human resources firm that grew to the fourth largest of its kind. Jim also served as executive director of the John LaFarge Institute in NYC, as president of an innovative New Jersey private college, and as chair of the board asset and liability committee for Crestmont Savings, a $1.4 billion New Jersey bank. He served on the boards of 10 social service and professional non-profits, including six as CEO. He is currently a board member of Covenant House New Jersey and is the manager of a family foundation, of which his daughters are trustees. In addition to providing support for student researchers at Rutgers’ New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, his recent gifts have included a webcam system for tortoise activity in the Galapagos Islands, and for the environmental advocacy program of New Jersey Audubon.

Alison McKenna

Alison McKenna

Alison McKenna is a candidate in the Bloustein School’s Master of City and Regional Planning program.  She is also a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) and prior to this fellowship, was a hazard mitigation specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At FEMA, she worked on Hurricane Sandy recovery in New Jersey, and also worked on community recovery and natural resource impacts.  She has also worked as a labor market analyst for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  Alison received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in economics from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s in Public Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. As part of her summer fellowship, Alison will be providing support as part of an effort to develop climate adaptation best practices.

Sarah Watson

Sarah Watson

Sarah Watson is a candidate in the Bloustein School’s dual Master of Public Policy/Master of City and Regional Planning program.  Prior to attending Bloustein, Sarah was a reporter for The Press of Atlantic City, where she covered environmental and post-Hurricane Sandy issues. She was a 2013 fellow with the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting and a recipient of multiple state press association awards. She received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Temple University.  As part of her summer fellowship, Sarah will be providing support to the Ironbound Community Corporation in Newark as part of its development of a comprehensive climate change adaptation and resiliency plan.

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