Columbus, Ohio Ohio Sea Grant is proud to announce that four Ohio finalists have been selected as part of the 41st class of the prestigious John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, a year-long program that places highly qualified graduate students in host offices in the legislative and executive branches of U.S. government.
“We are proud to send such an accomplished group of Ohio finalists into Placement Week for their Knauss Fellowships,” said Dr. Christopher Winslow, director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory at The Ohio State University. “Each of them brings a unique combination of expertise and passion for policy work and science communication to the table, and we believe they will be outstanding assets to any federal offices they join.”
Tiffany Atkinson recently received a Master’s degree from the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Her research project focuses on the impacts of diet and murky waters on African fish, including the impacts humans can have on an ecosystem.
“Becoming more aware of the disconnect between scientific evidence and public awareness, I realized my true passion is to use my scientific background to engage the public by emphasizing the interdependencies of humans and the natural world,” Atkinson wrote in her application. “To facilitate the communication necessary to protect our aquatic resources, at the appropriate scale, it is imperative that I become involved with the agencies responsible for creating water policies and regulations. By participating in the Knauss Fellowship Program, I would gain valuable, formal training in effective stakeholder engagement and crucial knowledge of the policy formulation process.”
Geoffrey Dipre is a PhD candidate in earth sciences at The Ohio State University in Columbus. His dissertation focuses on assessing climate change impacts in the Arctic, based on prehistoric sediment records. He also works as the education and outreach coordinator for Ohio State’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (BPCRC), leading tours and running activities that focus on communicating both climate change science and international environmental laws surrounding that science in an accessible way.
“I recognized early in my graduate career that I ultimately wanted to communicate and apply my science to policy,” Dipre wrote in his application. “I was one of three members from BPCRC that led the development of the Columbus Climate Action Plan. This project provided me with invaluable first-hand experience in translating science into actionable solutions, and I believe it demonstrates my ability to work as a leader across a large, collaborative team that is accountable to the needs of various constituencies.”
Josie Lindsey-Robbins is a Master’s student in biological sciences at Bowling Green State University, where her research focuses on phosphorus and nitrogen management in agricultural soil to prevent Lake Erie algal blooms. A study abroad trip to New Zealand and a Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Michigan opened her eyes to the need for accessible science for everyone, a goal she will continue to pursue as part of the Knauss Fellowship.
“In order to create strong policy, we need people who can compile scientific research, extract the most important findings, and communicate that information with the public and stakeholders,” Lindsey-Robbins wrote in her application. “The Knauss Fellowship will provide an invaluable opportunity to participate in policymaking, providing a practical application for my experience in ecological research.”
Matthew Young is a Master’s student in environmental science at The Ohio State University in Columbus, where he combines an environmental engineering background with courses and work experience in environmental law and policymaking. These experiences, and a course focused on combining science, engineering and public policy in particular, are what led him to want to pursue public policy work.
“The course illuminated the importance of not only understanding science, but also successfully conveying an understanding of science to the public and politicians in order to create sound, science-backed policies,” Young wrote in his application. “The Knauss Fellowship carries the opportunity to further advance my experience in this unique area by allowing me to apply my science-heavy background in a political setting.”
The four finalists join a group of 72 graduate students recommended to the National Sea Grant office from 27 Sea Grant programs across the country. Finalists will meet in Washington, D.C. in late 2019 for placement interviews with potential host offices, which can include executive branch appointments in offices like NOAA, the Department of the Interior and the National Science Foundation, as well as legislative placements on Senate and House committees and in legislative offices. More information about the program is available at seagrant.noaa.gov/Knauss-Fellowship-Program.
The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.