2010 California Sea Grant State Fellows Announced

Caitlin Coomber

California Sea Grant is pleased to announce the 2010 State Fellowship winners.

Each of the five fellows will receive a $2,833 monthly stipend for up to 12 months to intern at a host agency in California engaged in marine policy and resource management. This year’s hosts include: California Ocean Protection Council; California Ocean Resources Management Program; California Ocean Science Trust; Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and NOAA Coastal Services Center.

The fellowship recipients, their host agencies and brief descriptions of their fellowship assignments follow:

Kristine Faloon
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Kristine Faloon is a State Fellow with the research team at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Monterey. In her first assignment at sea, she participated in the removal of derelict fishing gear, which can entangle and drown animals. In a second sea-going cruise, she assisted in an effort to map fish habitats in the sanctuary. On land, she is currently preparing a display for the “World of Fishes” exhibit at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Monterey County. In coming months, she and colleagues will begin a project that documents the benefits of the nearly 20-year-old sanctuary to both people and animals.

Faloon holds a master’s in environmental science and management from UC Santa Barbara for her work on developing collaborative management ideas for the Santa Barbara nearshore rockfish fishery. Prior to receiving the State Fellowship, she was a graduate intern in communications and outreach at Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society in Santa Barbara.

Jason Hassrick
West Coast Regional Office, NOAA Coastal Services Center

As a State Fellow at NOAA Coastal Services Center’s West Coast Regional Office in Oakland, Jason Hassrick is contributing to a variety of coastal resource management programs of relevance to the West Coast. Currently, he is planning workshops that will teach low-lying coastal communities how to plan for rising sea levels and subsequent inundation during storms. He is also coordinating some of the logistics of opening a new NOAA office in San Francisco specifically dedicated to serving San Francisco Bay. Other projects include reviewing and planning a five-day climate change training session and providing administrative support to an upcoming meeting of West Coast governors.

Hassrick earned a doctorate in marine ecology at UC Santa Cruz for his research on the foraging ecology of female northern elephant seals and how it relates to their age and weight. His tagging and tracking research, conducted under the direction of California Sea Grant researcher Daniel Costa, focused media attention on the importance of apex predators to ocean health.

Erinn McKell
Ocean Resources Management Program
California Natural Resources Agency

Erinn McKell is a State Fellow with the California Ocean Resources Management Program of the California Natural Resources Agency. As a State Fellow, she will be supporting the program’s broad mission of ensuring the governor’s top ocean and coastal priorities are accomplished. Because the November gubernatorial election is occurring during her fellowship, she will also be part of the transition to a new administration. Some of the specific projects with which she may become involved include: implementing the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health and the Marine Life Protection Act; interfacing with the Ocean Protection Council and planning the California and the World Ocean 2010 conference.

McKell earned a master’s in biological oceanography from Cal State Monterey Bay/Moss Landing Marine Laboratories for her studies of denitrifying microbes in Elkhorn Slough and their relationship to anthropogenic sources of nitrogen pollution. Prior to entering graduate school, she was an underwriter at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and a research associate/program manager at the pharmaceutical giant Wyeth-Ayerst in New York.

Pam Rittelmeyer
California Ocean Protection Council
State Coastal Conservancy

Pam Rittelmeyer is a State Fellow with the governor-appointed California Ocean Protection Council in Oakland. During her year-long fellowship, she will support the council’s mandate to coordinate the state’s ocean-related activities to better manage ocean resources. One project she anticipates being involved with is the council’s new interest in spatial management. Given her strong background in multi-media journalism, she will also be suited to contribute to California’s Thank You Ocean Campaign. She may also become involved with a project to rank the dangers posed by various aquatic invasive species in coastal California.

Rittelmeyer earned a master’s in geography from Cal State Fullerton for her GIS-intensive project to map the potential distributions of fishes along the East Coast. She also holds a certificate in digital filmmaking (specializing in animation) from New York University. In addition, she has moonlighted as a Malibu-based filmmaker, wildlife photographer, journalist and movie camera operator.

Liz Rogers
California Ocean Science Trust

Liz Rogers is a State Fellow with the California Ocean Science Trust in Oakland, a non-profit public benefit corporation established to incorporate the best available science into state marine policy and management. Broadly described, her assignment will be to communicate scientific research needs, priorities and funding to the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and other related agencies. In this effort, she will coordinate working groups and gather research materials for the OPC’s Science Advisory Team and prepare and edit presentations, press releases and fact sheets on science conducted with OPC funding to facilitate the translation of science into useful products for managers and policy makers. She will also be involved with the OPC’s new Wetland Carbon Sequestration Initiative.

Rogers holds a master’s in international environmental policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. While in graduate school, she was a research assistant with the National Ocean Economics Program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and an accreditation manager at the non-profit Big Sur Land Trust. She is also a former Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa.

Written by Christina Johnson