Monica Velez-Ortiz grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During her undergraduate degree, Velez-Ortiz had the opportunity to experience summer internships with federal agencies and research institutions. She presented her undergraduate research project “Imagery from high-resolution, ground-based LiDAR and identification of coastal features and potential applications for coastal change analysis” at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. She is now working toward her master’s degree at UMass Boston. Velez-Ortiz’s research focuses on the study of changes in landscape evolutionary processes during the Holocene, specifically in beach systems, to determine climate variability. Her master thesis research deals with linkages between climate, wetlands, and coastal landscapes at Marsden Point, North Island, New Zealand. She is also interested in the morphological impacts of extreme, episodic events like hurricanes, storm surges, and El Niño to the coastal system. She is a student member of the Geological Society of America, American Meteorological Society, and the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.