The 86 finalists in the 2023 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Sea Grant have continued the tradition of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program and have announced the finalists of the 2023 class. The finalists, who are early career professionals, will be placed in Washington, D.C. federal government offices. The 2023 class represents the largest in recent years with 86 finalists. Since 1979, over 1,550 fellows have completed the one-year Knauss fellowship program, applying their experience to lasting careers in science, policy, and public administration.
New Jersey Sea Grant’s very own nominee, Alexandra Swanson of Princeton University, has been chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Fellowship and we wish her luck on her journey!
Alexandra Swanson, Princeton University; New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium
NJSGC Executive Director, Dr. Peter Rowe notes “NJSGC is extremely thrilled that Alexandra Swanson has been selected as a 2023 Knauss Fellowship finalist. Ms. Swanson’s experiences at Brown and Princeton, from her being a policy analyst for the Providence City Council, to her Peace Corps work in Panama, and her current conservation internship at the Council on Environmental Quality make her a truly outstanding candidate. Given Alexandra’s background and characteristics, especially her maturity and vision, her drive, and her scientific talents, Ms. Swanson will make an excellent Knauss Fellow. NJSGC wishes her the best success.”
Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes comprehensive review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students that are enrolled in or have recently completed master’s, Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine and coastal science, policy or management apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs. If applicants are successful at the state program level, their applications are then reviewed by a national panel of experts. This year’s class of 86 finalists comprises students and recent graduates from 62 distinct universities, including 16 finalists from nine minority-serving institutions. The finalists represent 29 of the 34 Sea Grant programs, and they completed coursework and research in a range of fields, such as biology, chemistry, ecology, engineering, environmental science and management, law, marine and coastal sciences and policy, and several disciplines of oceanography.
“The Knauss Fellowship offers graduate students the invaluable opportunity to put their academic knowledge to practice in tackling marine, coastal, and Great Lakes management and policy challenges at the federal level,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., National Sea Grant College Program director. “We look forward to welcoming the 2023 class of Knauss fellows and seeing how they will apply their unique insights to developing solutions to some of the most important challenges facing the country.”
In an effort to be more equitable and inclusive, the application process for the 2023 Knauss Fellowship was restructured from past years. This included shifting from a generic personal statement to a series of short-answer questions that tapped into applicants’ creativity, practical skills and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, along with updated application evaluation criteria that more fully acknowledged the diversity of experiences that a student may bring to the fellowship.
Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOAA Research and former Knauss Fellow Emily Menashes offered her reflections on the fellowship. “No two Knauss Fellowship placements are the same, as this program is uniquely able to cater to the individual strengths and interests of each fellow. I look forward to learning more about each of the 2023 Knauss finalists.”
Congrats to the 2022 Knauss Legislative Fellows for successfully completing virtual Placement Week! Good luck to Ashlyn Spector (Rutgers University) who is placed at the Commerce Committee; Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change, and Manufacturing and Janine Barr (Rutgers University) who will be placed at the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Their fellowships in federal government begin February 1, 2022.
Our Executive fellows Schuyler Nardelli (Rutgers University) were placed at the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Office, and Liza Wright-Fairbanks (Rutgers University), at the Ocean Acidification Program Office.
Congratulations to all! See other placements, and learn how to become a fellow in 2023 at https://seagrant.noaa.gov/Knauss-Fellowship-Program.
Silver Spring, MD — NOAA and Sea Grant are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2022 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The one-year fellowship places early career professionals in federal government offices in Washington, D.C. The 74 finalists in the 2022 class represent 28 of the 34 Sea Grant programs. Since 1979, almost 1,500 fellows have completed the program, becoming leaders in science, policy, and public administration roles.
Congratulations to NJSGC executive fellows Schuyler Nardelli (Rutgers University) placed at the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Office, and Elizabeth Wright-Fairbanks (Rutgers University), at the Ocean Acidification Program Office. Also congratulations to 2022 Knauss Fellows Janine Barr (Rutgers University) and Ashlyn Spector (Rutgers University) who will receive their placements in January. Please stay tuned for more updates!
Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes comprehensive review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students that are enrolled in or have recently completed master’s, Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine and coastal science, policy or management apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs. If applicants are successful at the state program level, their applications are then reviewed by a national panel of experts.
“At both the state and national levels, Sea Grant’s active recruitment and student engagement efforts supported one of the most robust applicant pools in fellowship history,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., National Sea Grant College Program director. “I have no doubt that the finalists’ diverse perspectives will provide great insight towards addressing critical marine policy and science challenges. We look forward to welcoming the 2022 class of Knauss fellows.”
This year’s class comprises students and recent graduates from 51 distinct universities, including 11 minority-serving institutions. The finalists completed coursework and research in a range of fields, such as agronomy, anthropology, ecology, environmental policy and law, fisheries, geology, marine and coastal sciences, several disciplines of oceanography, tourism management, and urban and regional planning.
The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The Fellowship, named after one of Sea Grant’s founders and former NOAA Administrator John A. Knauss, matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one-year paid fellowship.
Dr. Janoff led all hearing preparations, including pressing the Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Commission, and Maritime Administration on their budget requests, setting the list of hearing topics, writing the Summary of Subject Material for Members/Member staff on the subcommittee and full committee.
Dr. Janoff attended the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Hearing – “Impacts of Shipping Container Shortages, Delays, and Increased Demand on the North American Supply Chain.” He scoped/brainstormed hearing topics, interviewed potential witnesses, curated multiple witness panels, wrote opening speeches for Chairs DeFazio and Carbajal, drafted witness questions for Chairs DeFazio and Carbajal, printed and prepared binders with all hearing materials for Chairs DeFazio and Carbajal, and the Staff Directors for both the committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
Christophe Tulou, Senior Counsel/Policy Director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (Left); Dr. Arye Janoff, Knauss Marine Policy Fellow for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation (Right).
He reviewed, tracked, and provided feedback on Member Designated Projects for Chair DeFazio’s INVEST in America Act, a $715 billion surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure bill. Provided policy guidance to member offices on climate change adaptation and mitigation legislative language for amendments to the INVEST in America Act.
He participated in a roundtable strategy/tracking discussion on possible legislative provisions for the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 with CGMT subcommittee staff.
He staffed the CG&MT subcommittee on various agency briefs and held numerous informational interviews.
He volunteered as a notetaker/participant for NOAA’s Science Advisory Board Leadership in Coastal Resilience workshop with coastal scientists, practitioners, managers, and policymakers.
He serves as a professional mentor for undergraduates in NOAA Sea Grant’s Community Engagement Internship (CEI) program.
JANINE M. BARR is pursuing an M.S. in Oceanography at Rutgers University.
She is currently a staffer at the New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center where she provides municipal planning support to New Jersey coastal towns interested in becoming more resilient to climate change. She also analyzed coastal states’ ocean acidification research and policy actions in consultation with NJ’s Department of Environmental Protection to inform relevant state policy efforts. She was a Science and Research Education Fellow at the US EPA where she assisted the Office of Water’s implementation of water quality standards to protect fresh and marine water consistent with state and federal regulations.
She has pursued professional and academic experiences at the interface of policy, science, and stakeholder engagement regarding our nation’s aquatic and marine resources. This includes research experience in oyster aquaculture at Rutgers University, and training as a Rutgers Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (C2R2) Fellow.
Specifically, she is interested in the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program because she would like to further her understanding of how federal offices balance the conservation and management of our nation’s marine resources and how stakeholder collaboration is incorporated into policy decisions.
SCHUYLER C. NARDELLI is presently pursuing her Ph.D. in Oceanography at Rutgers University
She spent a year in Antarctica with research focusing on the impacts of climate change on Antarctic plankton and how future change will affect ecosystem dynamics. In 2019, she joined the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research’s Krill Action Group, which serves as a link between the krill science community and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which manages the Southern Ocean krill fishery.
Living in Antarctica presented many opportunities to directly demonstrate the importance of her research through public outreach. Giving talks aboard cruise ships and to the Palmer Station community with receding glaciers as a backdrop is a powerful way to spur interest in conservation efforts, with hopes that these interactions translate to action when these people return home. Her time in Antarctica helped her realize that beyond her research, she wants to be involved in making impactful decisions regarding conservation and protection of marine ecosystems threatened by anthropogenic influences. Her motivation for applying to the Knauss Fellowship to pursue a career in marine policy.
ASHLYN SPECTOR expects to receive an M.S. in Geology in September 2021 from Rutgers University.
She has been studying beach elevation and sediment change using drone imagery to understand erosion. Although pursuing geoscience, she wants to dedicate time outside of her thesis toward planning and policy work to utilize knowledge in both fields. Her pursuits have become focused on coastal resilience-based projects, such as the development of a flood risk visualization tool for the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the development of coastal resilience assessments for local communities.
It is important to her to incorporate equity in coastal resilience decision-making so that policies enacted do not only benefit those with the largest influence but will actively serve community members who are often under-represented. She plans to expand her career serving coastal communities by partnering with them and the state to understand their needs and their current and future risks. She intends to facilitate this using her skills in communication and knowledge of current state and federal policies to meet communities’ needs while helping them become more physically and socially resilient.
She feels that the fellowship offers a saturated amount of information in a condensed timeline, allowing her to gain knowledge and experience that would otherwise take years to learn.
ELIZABETH K. WRIGHT-FAIRBANKS is a Ph.D. candidate in Oceanography at the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University.
Her focus has been to develop novel ocean acidification research, stakeholder collaboration and outreach, and leadership in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in science. She
investigated the dynamics of ocean physics, biology, and carbonate chemistry as they relate to commercially important habitat.
She is now training technicians, students, and tenured faculty at three other universities on
methods to deploy this new technology, analyze physical and chemical ocean data, and ensure
best practices and quality control. She wants to apply these skills to cultivate a career in policy where she can promote and incentivize socially impactful marine research.
She mentors first-year students who identify as underrepresented in STEM, providing a support network that helps them navigate the transition to graduate school in hopes that it will improve long-term retention of underrepresented scientists.
Her ultimate goal is a career in science policy, where she can drive the field toward both impactful science and collaboration with outreach-focused groups to ensure those impacts are meaningful to stakeholders.
The Knauss Fellowship offers that first-hand experience providing invaluable insight and networking opportunities in a federal office which will help her achieve her next career goal of serving as a NOAA program manager.
NJSGC’s 2021 Knauss fellow Arye Janoff has been busy last month. He presented a keynote presentation at the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System 2021 Annual Meeting as the recipient of the Jaia Syvitski 2021 Student Modeler Award.
He attended staff meetings and conducted interviews with the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. He held informational interviews with the California Coastal Commission, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research Development Center (ERDC), American Bird Conservancy, National Ocean Protection Coalition, RRM Designs (planning consultancy), and others.
He staffed the CG&MT subcommittee on various agency briefs (i.e., Coast Guard, Government Accountability Office, Maritime Administration, Centers for Disease Control, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection etc.)
He attended and participated in policy meetings with the Administration and House Leadership on the American Jobs Plan. He took a course on markup procedures from Committee Clerk in preparation for upcoming bill markups.
He helped to draft a letter to President Biden and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Customs and Border Protection determinations on the Jones Act.
He plans to visit the West Coast in August with stops at many ports in California, Oregon and Washington.
Dr. Arye Janoff is the 2021 Knauss Fellow working with the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
He recently visited the Port of Baltimore along with officials from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Port of Baltimore and Ports America Chesapeake. They visited the marine terminals and the dredge containment management facilities at Masonville and Cox Creek. Inflow from the Seagirt dredging project was in full operation at Masonville. During the visit the Ever Faith of Evergreen, a 12,000 TEU container ship called on the Port. He is pictured third from right with officials during the visit.
Arye was awarded the 2021 Syvitski Student Modeler award for his submission “From Coastal Retreat to Seaward Growth: Emergent Behaviors from Paired Community Beach Nourishment Choices.”