Funding

Former Fellows


In celebration of the National Sea Grant College Program's 50th anniversary, we are reconnecting with our former Sea Grant fellows. Here's a look at where our Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy fellows are today.

 

Nikola Garber (1999)

Nikola Garber
Nikola Garber

Fellowship assignment: U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon)

Current position: Deputy Director, National Sea Grant College Program

How did your fellowship help you in your career? 

Jumping in with both feet as a legislative Knauss fellow, I quickly learned how policy is shaped and that I wanted to be part of this profession. I would never be in the position I am today, had it not been for this experience.

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? 

Traveling along the Oregon coast to learn firsthand from the constituents about the problems they encountered daily and working on ways to help them.

 

Julien Lartigue (2003)

Julien Lartigue
Julien Lartigue

Fellowship assignment: U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon)

Current position: Director, NOAA's RESTORE Act Science Program/Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

How did your fellowship help you in your career? 

The fellowship showed me, outside of an academic setting, the many different ways an education in marine science could be put to use. It taught me how to communicate science to a more general audience and how science can inform policy decisions.

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? 

Less than one week removed from my graduate studies, I was knocking on the door of senior staff in the U.S. Senate trying to get authorization for an important program for Oregon fishers included in a must-pass piece of legislation. Building on the work of the Knauss fellow before me, we were able to get the program authorized, funded and implemented during my fellowship year. 

 

Kirsten Larsen (2005)

Kirsten Larsen
Kirsten Larsen

Fellowship assignment: NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology

Current position: Oceanographer, NOAA National Center for Environmental Information

How did your fellowship help you in your career? 

Being in the fellowship was a life and career changing experience. While I had some limited knowledge of NOAA Fisheries prior to the fellowship, I was not aware of all that NOAA did, and the myriad of opportunities there are within the federal government to do marine and coastal science, policy and management. Without the fellowship, I don't know that I would have had the confidence to explore such a wide variety of positions that I have in the last 11 years. 

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? 

One of my favorite roles while working as a fellow was staffing a working group made up of both the science leadership positions within NOAA and many of the academic and non-profit marine scientists from United States and Canada. It was amazing to work with such high-caliber and well-known scientists as they developed recommendations about NOAA's ecosystem research portfolio.

 

Staci Ann Lewis (2007)

Staci Lewis
Staci Lewis

Fellowship assignment: Office of NOAA Administrator

Current position: Ph.D. candidate, Stanford University

How did your fellowship help you in your career? 

My placement inserted me into the highest levels of a federal agency, during a presidential transition year. I learned the inner-workings of a federal agency and how agencies coordinate across the executive branch. My experience led to a high level policy position within the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and led me to an interdisciplinary Ph.D. award to attend Stanford University. 

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? 

Five months into my fellowship, I staffed Rear Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher to a ship christening ceremony. It was held an hour away from my family home. My parents were able to attend the event and learn more about my work through the generosity of the NOAA Headquarters staff. 

 

Anne Marie Eich (2010)

Anne Marie Eich
Anne Marie Eich

Fellowship Assignment: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Branch of Aquatic Invasive Species

Current Position: Fishery Management Specialist, NOAA Fisheries

How did your fellowship help you in your career? The Knauss Fellowship was a great introduction to all of the intricacies involved in policy decision-making.

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? The people I met through the Knauss Fellowship continue to be my favorite part of the experience.

 

 

Andrew Coleman (2011)

Andy Coleman
Andy Coleman

Fellowship assignment: U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard

Current position: Program director, Birmingham Audubon Society

How did your fellowship help you in your career? It provided exposure to a variety of issues and ideas that I would not have experienced otherwise. 

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? I made a number of friendships that I am thankful for to this day.  

 

 

Clifford Hutt (2013)

Cliff Hutt
Cliff Hutt

Fellowship Assignment: NOAA Fisheries Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division

Current Position: Fisheries Management Specialist, NOAA Fisheries

How did your fellowship help you in your career?

The Knauss Fellowship gave me an opportunity to prove myself at NOAA. I would not be where I am today without it. 

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? 

My favorite memory of the fellowship was spending two weeks on a NOAA vessel in the Gulf of Mexico sampling sharks. One night we caught a 9-foot-long great hammerhead, and I'll never forget handling the line while we brought her in for tagging. 

 

Courtney Smith (2013)

Courtney Smith
Courtney Smith

Fellowship assignment: U.S. Department of Energy, Wind and Water Power Technologies Office

Current position: Marine Mammal Conservation & Recovery Specialist, NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources

How did your fellowship help you in your career? I never had the opportunity to travel  internationally -- something that nowadays is essential for professional development. The Knauss Fellowship gave me the opportunity to travel abroad twice during my fellowship year (to Hungary and Scotland) for professional conferences I'd otherwise not have been able to attend. Being exposed to international cultures and marine issues were life-changing on both a personal and professional level.

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? The camaraderie you gain from being an alumni. What a privilege to be a part of this group.  

 

Elizabeth Bevan (2014)

Elizabeth Bevan
Elizabeth Bevan

Fellowship Assignment: NOAA National Sea Grant Office

Current Position: PhD Student, University of Alabama at Birmingham

How did your fellowship help you in your career? 

The Fellowship gave me experience navigating the political aspects of marine conservation and the opportunity to connect with people at the national level in marine policy. These connections are not only a phenomenal asset in the job market, or with scholarship/fellowship hosts, but they have facilitated many aspects of my own research back in the realm of academia, thus strengthening the bridges of crossover between marine policy and research.

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? 

Honestly, it's a tough call between two critical moments. The first was a Alaska Sea Grant Fisheries conference I attended in Anchorage, AK, where I held my first glacier (ok, a small piece of one) and witnessed the mind-exploding beauty of that gigantic wilderness. The other moment I would have to say was one of my favorites was actually Placement Week. I know, I know...that event has more stories to it than the National Archives. However, towards the end of interview schedule, when I was so tired I couldn't form coherent sentences to ask for a Ban Mi sandwich from the food truck, I sat down to stare at the Capitol and realized just how much of a challenge I had faced and overcome. That week forced me to realize a lot of things about myself and my capabilities. And it was only just the beginning.

 

Shailesh Sharma (2015)

Shailesh Sharma, left, with NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.
Shailesh Sharma, left, with NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.

Fellowship Assignment: Aquatic Invasive Species Analyst, NOAA Fisheries Office of Management and Budget

Current Position: Aquatic Invasive Species Analyst, NOAA Fisheries

How did your fellowship help you in your career? 

The fellowship provided me an opportunity to network with top scientists and policy makers in the field of marine and coastal sciences. It also allowed me to understand how a federal organization works.

What is your favorite memory of your fellowship? 

I traveled to different parts of the United States and had first-hand experience in assessing the threats of invasive species in our pristine systems. I also organized a NOAA all-hands meeting on invasive species in Santa Cruz, California, which was amazing. It was attended by many scientists and people working directly in the field of invasive species management.