Kristen Vale graduated from UHCL with a master's degree in environmental science from the School of Science and Engineering in May 2016. Her thesis project was "Investigation of Factors Influencing Piping Plover Distribution Along the Upper Texas Coast." While pursuing her degree at UHCL, she worked as a research assistant at EIH. She assisted in many projects including tracking piping plovers using radio telemetry across Galveston Bay, the National Coastal and Wetland Condition Assessment, and the Texas Clean Rivers Program. Vale currently works for American Bird Conservancy as the Texas Coastal Program Coordinator.