Sea Grant announces 2020 Knauss fellowship finalists

Katherine Leitzell

NOAA Sea Grant has announced the finalists for the 2020 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. Since 1979, the National Sea Grant College Program has provided one-year fellowships working in federal government offices in Washington, D.C. to over 1,300 early-career professionals. The 69 finalists in the 2020 class represent 27 of the 34 Sea Grant programs. Overall the finalists include six California graduate students:  four from California Sea Grant and two from USC Sea Grant.

Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes several rounds of review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students finishing Masters (M.S.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine 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 fall, the 2020 finalists will travel to Washington, D.C., to interview with several executive or legislative offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowship in February 2020

Executive appointments for the 2019 Knauss fellows included placements throughout the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as with Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, U.S. Navy, and other agencies. Legislative placements included the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Minority), the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (Majority), the Senate Commerce Committee (Majority and Minority), the House Committee on Natural Resources (Minority), and several placements in both majority and minority of offices.

Placement of 2020 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate funding in Fiscal Year 2020.

Meet the 2020 California Sea Grant Knauss finalists

james lachanceJames (Jim) LaChance is a PhD student at the University of California Berkeley. His dissertation research focuses on marine fisheries policy in the US. Originally from the North Shore of Boston, LaChance grew up around fishing communities and working waterfronts, and plans to focus his career on the challenges facing coastal communities, including climate change, development, and invasive species. 

Jennifer LeJennifer Le is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Her PhD research is focused on interdisciplinary environmental issues such as storm water treatment and deep-sea mining. A daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Le is interested in the balance between economic growth and environmental, social, and cultural wealth. She plans a career aimed at finding science-based solutions for the sustainable use of marine resources.

lowderKaitlyn Lowder recently completed her PhD at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Her PhD research explored climate change impacts on the California spiny lobster, and she was also involved in science and policy dialogue at the state and international level. She aims for a career with NOAA, and hopes to work on science that benefits the environment and society.

Kat MontgomeryKat Montgomery recently earned an interdisciplinary Master of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. For her capstone project, Kat analyzed the economic opportunities for offshore finfish aquaculture in the United States along with the social and political barriers it faces. Montgomery hopes to apply her interdisciplinary education to advance federal policies that balance a healthy ocean with a healthy economy.


NOAA/Sea Grant Announcement: Sea Grant Announces 2020 Finalists for the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program