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South Florida Researcher To Sit With Michelle Obama For SOTU Speech


A South Florida sea-level rise researcher will have one of the best seats in the house for the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Nicole Hernandez Hammer of Boca Raton will be one of First Lady Michelle Obama’s invited guests.

Hernandez Hammer says her research shows that cities and regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea-level rise also have large Hispanic populations.

“Most people don’t know about our vulnerability. That was really eye-opening and encouraged me to go into advocacy,” she says.

Last October, Hernandez Hammer left her research position at Florida Atlantic University to become a Field Manager for the non-profit Moms Clean Air Force.  She says she’s working to help Latino communities better understand and address the impacts of sea-level rise.

Hernandez Hammer is of Cuban and Guatemalan descent. She says one of the driving forces behind her interest in environmental studies was Hurricane Andrew. Hernandez Hammer was a teenager when the 1992 monster storm destroyed her family’s west Miami-Dade home.

Years ago, after racking her brains trying to find a fun, engaging, creative night gig to subsidize her acting habit, Chris decided to ride her commercial voiceover experience into the fast-paced world of radio broadcasting. She started out with traffic reporting, moved on to news -- and never looked back. Since then, Chris has worked in newsrooms throughout South Florida, producing stories for radio broadcasts and the web.