When the 2017 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellows showed up in Washington, D.C. last January, Ohio had a bigger presence than ever before. For the first time, three fellows were chosen from among the applicants Ohio Sea Grant recommended for the fellowship, a federal program sponsored by NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program.
Amber Bellamy, Molly Semones and Kayla Miller and other Knauss Fellows from all over the country were matched with openings in federal government offices based on their areas of interest and expertise and spent the year learning the ins and outs of government.
“The Knauss Fellowship is a great chance for graduate students to explore the inner workings of federal government and policy,” said Ohio Sea Grant Director Dr. Chris Winslow. “These positions can be life-changing for those who are placed. The experience Knauss fellows gain and the connections they make can change the course of their careers.”
Former Knauss Fellows from Ohio include Mark Monaco, director of NOAA’s Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment; and Sarah Opfer Lowe, NOAA Marine Debris Program Great Lakes regional coordinator.
Kayla Miller worked at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Headquarters. “I was special assistant to the deputy assistant director and I did a lot of serving as the point person for our program,” Miller said. She also helped keep the 17-person leadership team organized, a feat she described as “easier said than done.”
Miller was a Stone Lab Research Experience for Undergraduates student in 2013 while in the process of earning her bachelor’s degree in chemistry education at Bowling Green State University. She went on to earn a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Ohio State, and she recently landed a permanent position with Ohio State University Extension and will be returning to the Buckeye state in January 2018.
“It was such a great experience to move outside of Ohio,” Miller said. “Professionally, you make so many connections. I’m glad that Ohio Sea Grant gave me this opportunity. I think the Midwest is easily forgotten in D.C. and I hope was able to be a good advocate for the Great Lakes.”
Amber Bellamy was placed in the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology, where she managed several publications and newsletters, and Semones worked in the NOAA Research Office of the Assistant Administrator.
“I think I definitely have a much better understanding of how science and management intersect,” said Bellamy, who has a PhD in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology from The Ohio State University. “I’ve been pleased with what I’ve done and the opportunities I’ve had.”
Ohio will have two Knauss Fellows in 2018 – Heather Fair-Wu, who was placed with U.S. Geological Survey as a water mission fellow, and Jessica Sherman, who was placed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System.
Applications for the 2019 Knauss Fellowship are currently open, and all application materials must be received by February 23, 2018. The one-year fellowship of $61,500 provides a stipend and living expenses of $47,000. Additional funds cover health insurance costs, moving expenses, academic degree-related and fellowship-related travel.
Ohio Sea Grant asks that all applicants contact our office prior to the application deadline. This will give us the opportunity to explain the fellowship in detail and predict the number of applicants we will get. For more information, visit go.osu.edu/knauss.