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Fellowships - Testimonials
Education - News

In their own words, Sea Grant fellows talk about their experiences, starting with those from the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, which is often seen as the model by which other prestigious fellowship opportunities are offered by the various Sea Grant programs ...

Emily Markowitz

Placement: 2018 Executive Fellow, NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology

Duties: Supported and organized several sea turtle science initiatives, working groups, and workshop meetings for the Assessment and Monitoring Division’s Protected Species Science Branch. Also edited the divisions quarterly newsletter and developed scientific applications. Was able to present at several international conferences and collaborate with fisheries biologists around the world.  

Now?: Federal contractor, in support of NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology

Testimonial: The fellowship attracts an incredible and diverse community of scientists, policymakers, and lawyers who I am proud to call my colleagues. Through the Knauss fellowship, I had the opportunity to work with scientists, policymakers, and external collaborators to address the governance of our coasts and oceans, resource conservation, and fisheries management. 

Related article:

In Photos: Two from New York Named 2018 Knauss Fellowship Finalists (August 2017)



Erin Eastwood

Placement: A Columbia University graduate and 2016 John A. Knauss International Partnerships Fellow for NOAA’s Climate Program Office

Testimonial: “During my time as a Knauss Fellow, I had the opportunity to do numerous career-related trainings and professional development opportunities, and attend several amazing international marine conservation conferences and meetings. The fellowship has opened doors for me with respects to meeting and interacting with people I admire and hope to emulate. It has also helped me to build strong working relationships that I plan to maintain throughout the rest of my career.” 

Memory of fellowship: Presenting on behalf of NOAA and the U.S. government on blue carbon at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, and seeing language I helped draft in the final U.S. Mid-Century Strategy for Achieving Deep Decarbonization, which was released at the COP22 in Marrakech and submitted to the UNFCCC under the Paris Agreement.

Related article:

New York Sea Grant’s Knauss Fellow Spreads Ocean Optimism Internationally (April 2016)

Dan Sousa

Placement/Duties: A Columbia University graduate and former Knauss fellow who, while working in the office of Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), helped on a Water Resources bill that became law in late 2014

Now?: PhD student in Earth Science at Columbia University.

Testimonial: “My appreciation for federal funding for science has been substantially enhanced thanks to my time as a Knauss Legislative fellow. It’s been extremely valuable to gain perspective on how science is perceived by policymakers.”

Related article:

Off to Washington for Two New York Knauss Fellows (Summer 2013)

Zachary Schulman

Placement: A Pace University School of Law graduate and 2013 Knauss Executive Fellow, Executive Assistant to the Director of Marine Transportation Systems at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters.

Now?: My current position is as the Liaison from the Coast Guard to the Federal Highway Administration, Washington, D.C.

Testimonial: "My fellowship absolutely helped me by exposing me to so many areas of the agency that I was able to legitimately say I had experience working in a very esoteric field (CG Bridge Administration), in addition to making innumerable connections and friendships that still help me today."

Memory of fellowship: "My favorite memory of my fellowship was walking on sea ice in the Arctic Ocean while on a science cruise on the USCGC Healy. I stood in a place on earth that no one had ever stood before, and very likely no one will ever be again. My fellowship travel stipend enabled me to pay for my transportation up to Barrow, AK, where I joined the crew as part of the NOAA contingent on this particular science mission."

Related article:

Off to Washington for Two New York Knauss Fellows (Summer 2013)

Jillian Cohen

Placement: 2012 Knauss Legislative Fellow, House Committee on Natural Resources

Now?: Presidential Management Fellow, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Testimonial: "The two main things I gained from my fellowship were professional connections, which helped me land the position I have today and which continue to enrich my professional (and personal life) and mastering the skill of working under tight deadlines.

Memory of your fellowship: I helped author an amendment to a bill that made its way to the floor. The amendment took a stand for using “best available science” when making decisions about using water in the San Joaquin River Valley.

Related articles: 

Graduate Students - The Foundation of Cornell's Future (Spring 2012)

Doctoral student Serves on US House Natural Resources Committee (December 2011)

Laura Oremland

Placement: Knauss Executive Fellow, NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology

Now?: My official title is "marine biologist" but that really doesn't capture what I do.  I would say "Education Program Manager/Coordinator and/or Science Communications Liaison" is more accurate. I'm in the same office where I did my fellowship.

Testimonial: "This fellowship exposed me to new job opportunities and a career path I never would have considered otherwise.  It also helped connect me to a wonderful network of mentors and colleagues."

Memory of fellowship: "Tagging horseshoe crabs as part of a camping trip to Cape Henlopen (Delaware) with a group of other fellows.  A unique and wonderful experience I don't think I would have done otherwise!"


Emily Cloyd

Placement: 
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry graduate and former Knauss executive fellow at NOAA National Ocean Service’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research

Testimonial: “My time as a Knauss Executive Fellow provided me with real-world experience at the science-policy nexus and challenged me to grow my leadership skills.”

Memory of fellowship: "Meeting and working with a wonderful group of Fellows — some of whom I still work with, more that I keep in touch with, and an even larger network of friends and colleagues wherever I go."

Now?: Engagement and Outreach Lead, US Global Change Research Program


The National Marine Fisheries Service-Sea Grant Fellowships in Population Dynamics is for students interested in careers related to the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing the economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources.

Katherine Kaplan

Placement/Duties: A Cornell University graduate and former NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service fellow, whose project was evaluating the impact of dredging on Atlantic sea scallop habitat on Georges Bank, a large elevated area of the sea floor between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia

Now?: I am finishing my dissertation and will be moving on to a postdoc working on California's marine protected areas soon--which is also a position situation with Academic and government collaborators. I would like to continue at this intersection advancing management strategies through science and bridging the gap between Academia and government.

Testimonial: "This fellowship helped me form a connection with a mentor at NOAA and get an inside look into government work in managing marine resources. I also formed connections with other NOAA staff and it provided me with the resources to conduct my dissertation work. Without this fellowship, my dissertation would not have been possible to complete. The fellowship set me up with a project that was of importance to marine managers and provided me with the means to conduct that research."

"This fellowship was extremely valuable in funding my dissertation work. These fellowships are valuable in advancing the science of natural resource management. My project has contributed to our understanding of environmental variables affecting the habitat of a valuable commercial fishery. This has value for management of the resource, which is of economic importance to the New England region. Understanding the ecology of the resources is essential to better management strategies and ensuring resource sustainability."

Memory of fellowship: "My favorite memory was observing whales on the NOAA scallop survey research cruise this past summer."

Related article: 

Invasive Species a Worry for Scallop Fisheries (September 2017)

Skyler Sagarese

Placement: A Stony Brook University graduate and former NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service fellow

Testimonial: “Professionally, my fellowship has taken me behind the scenes, from collecting and processing catches aboard the R/V Henry B. Bigelow to illuminating discussions of modeling techniques with cutting-edge scientists. Personally, I’ve been challenged and stretched and my passion for a career in fisheries science further ignited.”


Related articles: 

Through a Sea Grant Fellowship, Shark-Obsessed Teen Becomes the Expert (December 2016)

Four Decades Supporting Scholars, Fellows, Stewards and Youth (Winter 2012)



The Coastal Management Fellowship is a two-year opportunity wherein postgraduate students are matched with state coastal resource agencies to work on coastal projects. One of New York Sea Grant's previous fellows checked in with us recently to let us know where she's been since her time in the program:

Cynthia Decker

Placement: 1992 Coastal Management Fellow, Office of Naval Research (ONR)

Now?: Executive Director, NOAA Science Advisory Board

Testimonial: This fellowship gave me experience in scientific program management that was invaluable for getting other similar jobs. It also allowed me to develop a network of colleagues in ocean science programs throughout the government and in the academic community."

Memory of fellowship: "It’s really hard to choose! I went to the Navy shipyard in Norfolk, VA to visit an aircraft carrier in dry-dock as part of the program on Environmentally-Sound Ships to talk with the person who was making the decision about when to replace the bottom paint. Standing under an aircraft carrier that was balanced upright only along its keel on huge wooden wedges was awe-inspiring and a bit frightening at the same time.

I got to visit oceanographic institutions in the UK and Italy to present the program in Marine Environmental Quality that I was developing for ONR. It was amazing to see those facilities and meet with so many scientists from those countries."

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