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Xun (Nicole) Cai is a water quality ORISE fellow at EPA Region 3, Chesapeake Bay Program Office. At the Chesapeake Bay Program Nicole is developing initial fine-scale tributary models of the tidal waters of the James and York Rivers and beginning initial work on the next generation Chesapeake Bay Model. Nicole received a Ph.D. in 2022 from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary, where she earned her master’s degree in 2018. Her study focuses on the interactions of water quality and vegetation at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Instrumental to this study is her ongoing work in the development of various water quality modeling tools, including SCHISM-ICM, SCHISM-ICM-SAV, and SCHISM-ICM-VEG. These have been applied to studies of a number of systems, such as the San Francisco Bay-Delta, the Chesapeake Bay and the North Sea. Nicole enjoys cooking and baking in her free time, and her husband Qubin is a masterful dishwasher.