New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Applicant Named One of 2024 Knauss Fellowship Class

September 18th, 2023

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2024 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The 84 early-career professionals selected will be placed in federal government offices throughout Washington, D.C., and join the over 1,600 individuals who have participated in the program since its inception in 1979.

The Knauss fellowship is a one-year paid opportunity for current and recent graduates from advanced degree programs to apply their scientific knowledge and experiences to lasting careers in the sciences, policy, and public administration.

“Knauss fellows over the years have consistently and thoughtfully applied their unique knowledge and skill sets to developing solutions to issues that affect people across the nation,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “We look forward to welcoming the incoming class of fellows and have no doubt that they will continue the tradition of serving through science.”

Oluwafemi Soetan, Montclair State University and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Knauss Fellow

Oluwafemi Soetan, Montclair State University and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Knauss Fellow

Oluwafemi Soetan also known as “Femi” of Montclair State University is one of the finalists that has been accepted into the 2024 Knauss Fellowship Class. Since 2021, Femi has been working to achieve his Ph.D in Environmental Science & Management. “I am beyond excited to be joining the 2024 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship cohort. I have spent the last 3 years researching various marine and aquatic challenges for my Doctoral Program and with this fellowship, I have the tremendous opportunity to be directly involved in policy and administration concerning these very matters. Thanks to the National Sea Grant Program and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium for this amazing opportunity.” Says Femi. 

Dr. Peter Rowe, Executive Director, notes “NJSGC is excited and pleased that Femi has been selected as a finalist for the Knauss Fellowship Class of 2024. Femi is one of the most talented, interesting, and inspiring individuals that has applied for the Fellowship through our organization. I know that he will not only be successful and gain a lot from this experience, but also that his host agency will gain from his presence there.”

This year’s class features students and recent graduates from 66 universities, including 12 minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The 84 finalists represent 30 of the 34 Sea Grant programs across the country and have completed years of coursework in fields ranging from zoology, oceanography, and marine science to environmental management, public policy, and engineering.

The 2024 class can look forward to sharing similar experiences with current and former fellows. In the 2023 class, executive appointments included placements throughout NOAA as well as with the Department of Energy, the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies. 2023 Legislative fellows have supported the House Space and Technology Committee, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation (Majority), the House Natural Resources Committee on Water Oceans and Wildlife, and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

Former and current hosts share that fellows are exceptional additions to their offices, often leading the charge and making lasting impacts on their focus areas. Knauss fellows have been described as invaluable, essential, and integral—they not only gain experience from this opportunity but also provide valuable perspectives as experts in their fields.

In the following months, the 2024 finalists will participate in the placement week process to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2024. The 2024 Knauss finalists will become the 45th class of the fellowship and will join a group of over 1,600 professionals who have received hands-on experiences transferring science to policy and management through one-year appointments with federal government offices in Washington, D.C.