From Puerto Rico Sea Grant
By Robin Garcia, National Sea Grant Office
Joselyd Garcia is a Technical Writer and Editor with the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, managing OMAO’s Document Management System. “I publish, track, and maintain over 1,900 policies, procedures, ship specific documents, and Marine Operations bulletins. I also collaborate with subject matter experts to develop and edit policies and procedures for Marine Operations and OMAO Headquarters, on occasion.” Prior to her current position, she worked on marine mammal and endangered species scientific research permits for the Permits and Conservation Division within the Office of Protected Resources in NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. Recently, Ms. Garcia was recognized as NOAA’s Team Member of the Month for April 2015.
As a 2008 Knauss Fellow, Ms. Garcia worked for the US Marine Mammal Commission, “I wanted experience in a different field and chose the Commission because I had no previous background in marine mammals but always had an interest in them.” She worked on Congressional reports and reports to the greater scientific and public community.
Ms. Garcia received her master’s degree in marine science from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, where she focused on coral research.
Please share a highlight or an accomplishment from your time as a fellow.
All of it! I got to travel to many places, meet great people, and gain experience that I would have never received any other way – I went to Hawaii for a Monk Seal Recovery Team meeting and to California to visit a rehabilitation center, just to name a few. I wrote a few sections of the Commission’s Annual Report to Congress and delivered the report personally to Congress. Our class trip to Louisiana was also very enjoyable and informative. We got to visit a lot of different agencies and learn about how they contribute to the vast field of marine science.
How do you apply the experience and skills you gained as a Knauss fellow to your current position and overall career?
I used and still use a lot of skills that I gained as a fellow in my career. As a fellow, I got the opportunity to meet with people from different agencies and gained experience in inter-agency collaboration and creating professional relationships. I also learned how the government works in general but specifically the connection between marine science research and policy. I also learned how to write reports for the government, which is a task of its own!
What surprised you the most about your experience as a fellow?
The different sizes of agencies within the federal government. The US Marine Mammal Commission is a small independent agency in which I was able to gain a lot of exposure to the different aspects of government. The small office setting allowed me to work closely with high-up leadership in the Commission – I worked just a few steps away from the Executive Director, the General Counsel, the Accountant, and the different program directors. I also got the opportunity to work with the Commissioners, who are appointed by the President, and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on occasion.
Why would you recommend that others apply for this fellowship?
It is a great way to expand your background and gain invaluable experience. My academic background was in research, but I was also interested in policy. The fellowship is a rewarding experience and is also a great way to expand your network since you will encounter other Knauss fellows throughout many organizations across the country; especially DC, everyone around here knows about the Knuass Fellowship. You also build a strong bond with the other fellows – I still keep in touch with people from my class.
If you are at all thinking about marine science policy, definitely apply for the fellowship! I actually learned about the fellowship in graduate school from a visiting scientist who was a former fellow and raved about the experience. I now recommend the Knauss fellowship to others!