Columbus Ohio Sea Grant is proud to announce that four Ohio finalists have been selected as part of the 43rd 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.
“Our program continues to send accomplished groups of Ohio finalists to Washington, D.C. each year, thanks to our relationships with a number of Ohio universities” said Dr. Kristen Fussell, assistant director of administration and research for Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory. “This outstanding group of candidates will be assets to any federal offices they decide to join.”
Heather Glon is a Ph.D. candidate in The Ohio State University’s Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, but also takes classes in public policy and management in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. In addition to teaching courses in introductory biology and biodiversity, she is also a member of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio’s Board of Trustees and a divemaster at Aquatic Adventures Ohio.
“My career goal is to contribute to ocean research by obtaining a program management position with an agency such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Glon said in her application. “The Knauss Fellowship will allow me to apply my background in marine research, interest in informing marine policy, and strong communication skills to gain needed perspective on my future career.”
Steven Hein is a doctoral candidate in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Miami University, where he studies conservation and management of imperiled freshwater pearly mussels. By working with agency biologists on this research, his work has already directly contributed to the conservation efforts for multiple species.
“My career goal is to find a position in a governmental agency where I can apply my skills as a biologist towards the development of scientifically grounded and more sustainable environmental practices,” Hein said in his application. “I want to help build policies that will allow our country to continue to grow but also move forward in an environmentally positive light.”
Jeffrey Kast is a Ph.D. candidate in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science, studying agricultural conservation practices in Lake Erie’s western basin through the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. He also teaches courses in ecological engineering and interned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service during his time at the University of Florida.
“The intersection of science, policy, and communication is a challenging and critical yet exciting nexus,” Kast said in his application. “Working at this junction and providing meaningful information to the scientific community, regional stakeholders, and policy makers and administrators outlines the goals I have in my professional career.”
Kaitlen Lang is a M.S. candidate in biology at The University of Toledo, studying how grass carp mortality rates can indicate success in managing this invasive species. She also gained first-hand experience in fisheries management as a technician for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.
“I consider myself a grassroots scientist – one that is unpretentious, inclusive, and seeks to make unlikely alliances with those outside of academia,” Lang said in her application. “I think that our science is only as good as we can communicate it and that everyone benefits when people understand and support conservation. I’d like to take this perspective with me to the Knauss Fellowship as I help create and communicate policy that works for everyone.”
The four finalists join a group of 74 graduate students recommended to the National Sea Grant office from 28 Sea Grant programs across the country. Finalists will meet in late 2021 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 Sea Grant College Program is part of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and 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.