Where are the Knauss Fellows Alumni Now?
Connecticut Sea Grant sends competitively-selected graduating students to Washington DC every year, to become our state's John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellows. Each is placed in a federal office to help the nation's leaders shape national policy on marine and coastal issues. Here we ask how the Knauss Fellowship experience shaped the careers of past alumni. We will add more periodically as we get responses.
1986 Knauss Legislative Fellow
Fellowship Assignment: House Committee on Merchant Marines and Fisheries
Current Position: Director of U.S. Oceans, The Pew Charitable Trusts
How did your fellowship help you in your career? My fellowship introduced me to the world of environmental policy making. Through it I found that I Liked helping to develop policy and was good at it. So, my fellowship was directly responsible for my career path.
What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? I was walking near Dupont Circle with my roommate and we were marveling at the selection of international restaurants. As we walked, my roommate remarked, "I bet they even have Afghan restaurants." And halfway up the next block, we encountered the "Khyber Pass."
Sarah Beth Owen (now Beth Bisson)
2005 Knauss Executive Fellow
Fellowship Assignment: NOAA, NOS, Estuarine Reserves Division
Current Position: Associate Director, Maine Sea Grant Program
How did your fellowship help you in your career? The Knauss Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to have a year-long window into how the policy-making process on Capitol Hill works, and how executive branch offices within NOAA and other agencies interact with policy-makers, marine resource managers, scientists, and the public. Because each class of Fellows is placed in such a wide range of legislative and executive branch offices, I learned as much from the other Fellows in my cohort, as I did through my own placement. In addition, I gained a national perspective on the NERR System's network of state-federal partnerships that has been directly relevant to my current role within the Sea Grant network, and would not have been possible had I not received the fellowship.
What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? During my fellowship, I was fortunate to interact daily with state NERR System staff from across the country, and the experience solidified my desire to find a position working to address nationally-relevant issues through state and local-level partnerships and community engagement initiatives. I have found just such an opportunity in my work at Maine Sea Grant, and I believe the Fellowship provided me with skills and experiences that I draw upon every day.
2015 Knauss Executive Fellow
Fellowship Assignment: NOAA Fisheries Office of Sustainable Fisheries
Current Position: Fishery Management Specialist, NOAA Fisheries Office of Sustainable Fisheries
How did your fellowship help you in your career? The Knauss Fellowship was an incredible opportunity to work within the Federal government. After my year as a Knauss Fellow, I was able to confidently say that continuing to work within the government (specifically, NOAA) was my top priority as I moved forward in my career.
What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? While it is hard to pick one specific memory from my fellowship year, the network of friends and professional contacts you develop as a Knauss Fellow is invaluable. As a current DC resident, it is wonderful being able to connect with current and past Knauss Fellows.
1997 Knauss Executive Fellow 1997
Fellowship Assignment:The NOAA GLOBE Program
Current Position: Deputy Director for K-12 and Informal Education, NOAA Office of Education, Washington DC
How did your fellowship help you in your career? It provided me with both an unexpected but ultimate extremely fulfilling career path and provided me with a solid foundation for succeeding in that path.,/p>
What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? There are so many wonderful memories from my fellowship year... If I had to choose just one it would have to be placement week for its intensity, camaraderie, and excitement for things to come.
2011 Knauss Legislative Fellow
Fellowship Assignment: NOAA Office of Habitat Conservation Restoration Center
Current Position: Marine Habitat Research Specialist, Earth Resources Technology
How did your fellowship help you in your career? The Knauss experience really helped me understand how better science can help shape management decisions. How we prioritize our funding and our research effort has consequences on what ultimately gets managed, conserved, and protected.
What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? During my second month as a fellow I went to the Gulf of Mexico region to participate in scoping meetings for an environmental impact assessment. Although at face value the trip I took through the Gulf might seem mundane, but I got to spend time with many of my colleagues.