Kelly Keen, a 2013 California Sea Grant State Fellow, has accepted a job as an environmental scientist at the California State Lands Commission.
“After collecting and analyzing field data for a number of years, I was interested in how science was being used to shape policy and management decisions to protect marine and coastal ecosystems,” Keen said. “The Sea Grant State Fellows Program provided me with just that opportunity, and has allowed me to collaborate with scientific experts, stakeholders, and policymakers to make informed science-based decisions and provide solutions to challenging marine and coastal issues.”
Armed with a background in underwater acoustics and marine mammals, Keen assisted with the review and update of the State Lands Commission’s Low Energy Offshore Geophysical Permit Program during her fellowship. She reviewed how geophysical surveys would impact marine wildlife and is currently working to implement the Program.
Keen is also investigating how sea level rise will affect the Commission’s jurisdiction while maintaining its mission to manage and protect the state’s lands, waterways, and natural resources. Keen’s fellowship projects carried over to her job at the California agency where she has taken on additional responsibilities as a full-time staff member.
Prior to her fellowship, Keen earned her master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in 2012.
Her advice to future Fellows? “Use this opportunity as a learning experience — be a sponge and absorb all you can,” Keen said.
Keen is one of 13 California Sea Grant State Fellows who received a 12-month paid fellowship in 2013. The marine policy and resource management fellows have graduate-level training and are placed at state and federal agencies in California.