In Photos: Two from New York Named 2018 Knauss Fellowship Finalists
Education - News

By Chris Gonzales, Communications Specialist, New York Sea Grant

Late November 2017 Update: Both of NYSG's 2018 Knauss Fellows received work assignments during a week-long placement week in mid-November.They have been identified as Executive Fellows, as they will be working in non-legislative offices in Washington, D.C. Emily Markowitz will report to NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service's Office of Science and Technology; Ashley Stilson will work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Ecological Services

Stony Brook, NY, August 14, 2017New York Sea Grant has announced that two from New York will serve among the 61 national finalists for the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program.

The state’s awardees are Emily Markowitz and Ashley Stilson. Markowitz has a Master of Marine Science from Stony Brook University. Stilson has a juris doctorate (J.D.) and an environmental law certificate from Pace University.

Both finalists will be placed in either the executive or legislative branches of the federal government in November. The National Sea Grant Office's Web site offers details on all the 2018 finalists.

"We at New York Sea Grant could not be happier that two of our applicants, Emily and Ashley, have been selected as finalists in this highly competitive fellowship program," said NYSG Director William Wise. " I am confident that they will have very successful fellowships, which will prove for each a springboard into an impactful career in marine conservation and policy."

Emily Markowitz (at left) leads an outreach initiative in collaboration with Coastal Steward, teaching middle school students about plastic pollution and its harm to the oceans by making trash art. Ashley Stilson (at right) interning with the Permanent Mission of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations.

“Obtaining the Knauss Fellowship will allow me to participate in interactions between scientists and policy makers who are addressing global issues concerning the governance of our coasts and oceans,” said Markowitz. “A Knauss Fellowship will allow me to combine these experiences and interests and to develop a career in policy-relevant science.”

“My life goal has always been to positively impact our marine environment,” said Stilson. “As a John A. Knauss Fellow, I will have the opportunity to do just that. There is no doubt the experience I will gain will allow me to further my life goal in ways I always dreamt of.”

“We are excited about the talent and perspectives the 2018 Knauss Fellowship finalists will bring to their executive and legislative appointments next year,” said Jonathan Pennock, Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “The Knauss Fellowship is a special program for Sea Grant, and we are proud of the professional development and opportunities Sea Grant has provided our alumni, the current class and now these finalists.”

Finalists for Knauss fellowships are selected through a competitive process. Students finishing master’s, juris doctor, and doctor of philosophy programs with a focus in marine science, policy, and management apply to one of 33 state Sea Grant programs. Applicants who are successful at the state level advance and their applications are reviewed by a national panel. The 2018 finalists will travel to Washington, DC, in November to interview and negotiate placement in executive or legislative offices. They will begin their fellowships in February 2018.

Since 1979, Sea Grant has provided over 1,200 early career professionals with first hand experiences transferring science to policy and management through one year appointments with Federal government offices in Washington, D.C. Knauss alumni go on to have prospering careers in all sectors of society.“[The Knauss Fellowship] prepared me to communicate with different audiences and make the connection between the research and the communities,” said Helen Cheng, a 2015 Knauss Fellow (executive) and now NYSG's Coastal Resilience Specialist with the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. More on her efforts at

Executive appointments for the 2017 Knauss fellows included placements throughout the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as with Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, U.S. Navy, and other agencies. Legislative appointments included the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Subcommittee on Ocean, Atmosphere, Fisheries, Coast Guard (majority), House Committee on Natural Resources (minority), and several placements with both majority and minority offices.

In Photos: In the Field with 2018 Knauss Fellow Emily Markowitz

Emily examines a skate from a trawl of Long Island's Great South Bay

Stony Brook University master's graduate Markowitz hosing down SBU's research vessel Seawolf during a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ocean trawl.

Markowitz and laboratory mates, led by Nathan Brenna, deploy a solar-powered PIT-tag receiver (passive integrated transponder) to track snook movement in the mangroves of the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Aquaculture Park, near Sarasota, Florida. Snook (a drawing of which is pictured above) are a wily inshore gamefish that feed primarily on small fish and crustaceans like shrimp.

In Photos: In the Field with 2018 Knauss Fellow Ashley Stilson

Ashley and The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic out on the Riverkeeper boat. 

Once the chair of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, Stilson (second from left) is pictured with (l-r): Judge Mary Beth Ward, EPA Environmental Appeals Board; Judge Lynn Adelman, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; Judge Steven M. Colloton, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Judge Malachy E. Mannion, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania?ania; Jason Czarnezki, Dean and executive director of the environmental law program at Pace.

Stilson during her comparative environmental law course's trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she and her fellow students studied water allocation issues.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College. 

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG produces a monthly e-newsletter, "NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, Our program also offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published 1-2 times a year.

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