By Robin Garcia, National Sea Grant Office
Kristin Rusello is a Foreign Affairs Specialist in NOAA Fisheries’ Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection. Her position is fairly policy-based, as she assists in the coordination and implementation of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act. She also assists in the writing of the biennial Report to Congress in support of the Act, which highlights countries of interest for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Recently, Ms. Rusello was highlighted as NOAA’s Employee of the Month for April 2015.
As a 2005 Sea Grant Knauss Fellow, Ms. Rusello worked in the Office of Response and Restoration with NOAA’s National Ocean Service, focusing on both policy and science. “On the policy side, I worked on the Ecosystem Restoration Act. On the science side, I worked on oil spill and Superfund site assessments.” She stayed in the office following her fellowship. Ms. Rusello first learned about the Sea Grant Knauss fellowship from a friend who was a fellow the previous year.
Rusello earned her master’s degree from the University of Maryland, where she focused on wetland ecology.
Please share a highlight or an accomplishment from your time as a fellow.
Completing my master’s degree while I was a fellow was a huge accomplishment for me. I also enjoyed being able to use what I learned in school and apply it to policy.
How do you apply the experience and skills you gained as a Knauss fellow to your current position and overall career?
The skills from my fellowship help with my current position because I learned how to prepare for briefs with people that I don’t personally know well and who are higher level. The fellowship also taught me how to effectively prepare for meetings, how to create agendas and identify goals. During my fellowship, I attended briefings and hearings on Capitol Hill and learned about NOAA’s role as part of the federal government.
What surprised you the most about your experience as a fellow?
I learned about all of the amazing work that NOAA does. I didn’t have a lot of exposure to NOAA before my fellowship, but NOAA does so much different work.
Why would you recommend that others apply for this fellowship?
Since I didn’t have a marine science or oceanography background, the fellowship opened the door for me at NOAA and within policy. It can also do this for others.