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Sea Grant Announces the 2024 Class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Meet the finalists and learn about how their experiences and perspectives enrich the fellowship

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2024 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The 85 early-career professionals selected will be placed in federal government offices throughout Washington, D.C., and join the over 1,600 individuals who have participated in the program since its inception in 1979.

The Knauss fellowship is a one-year paid opportunity for current and recent graduates from advanced degree programs to apply their scientific knowledge and experiences to lasting careers in the sciences, policy, and public administration. 

“Knauss fellows over the years have consistently and thoughtfully applied their unique knowledge and skillsets to developing solutions to issues that affect people across the nation,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “We look forward to welcoming the incoming class of fellows and have no doubt that they will continue the tradition of serving through science.”

Finalists are selected after completing a rigorous competition with comprehensive reviews at the state and national levels. Students who are enrolled in or have recently completed master’s, Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine and coastal science, policy, or management apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs. If applicants are successful at the state program level, their applications are then reviewed by a national panel of experts.

“Knauss Fellows provide an immediate, positive impact on the nation’s stewardship of our marine and Great Lakes resources and the research needed for informed decisions,” said Steve Thur, Ph.D., Assistant Administrator of NOAA Research.  “The Knauss Fellowship is an excellent developmental opportunity for early career professionals, and many of my closest colleagues are Knauss alums.  I look forward to meeting the members of the new cohort, many of which I expect will become tomorrow’s leaders in the fields of marine policy, science and conservation”.

This year’s class features students and recent graduates from 66 universities, including 12 minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The 85 finalists represent 30 of the 34 Sea Grant programs across the country and have completed years of coursework in fields ranging from zoology, oceanography, and marine science to environmental management, public policy, and engineering.

Completing Ph.D. programs

Completing master's programs

Completing J.D. programs

Among the 2024 Knauss Finalist class, 43 finalists are completing Ph.D. programs, 38 are completing Master’s programs, and 4 are completing J.D. programs.  

With such diverse backgrounds, these finalists will bring unique, informed, and fresh perspectives to positions in the executive and legislative branches of government and sit at the intersection of science and policy.

Meet the 2024 Class of Knauss Finalists

The 2024 class can look forward to sharing similar experiences with current and former fellows. In the 2023 class, executive appointments included placements throughout NOAA as well as with the Department of Energy, the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies. 2023 Legislative fellows have supported the House Space and Technology Committee, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation (Majority), the House Natural Resources Committee on Water Oceans and Wildlife, and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

“I started my career with NOAA 24 years ago as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow in NOAA Fisheries in the economics program of the Office of Science and Technology,” said Emily Menashes, Deputy Assistant Administrator of Programs and Administration of NOAA Research. “My experience as a Knauss Fellow kick-started my career in NOAA, doing something I was passionate about and allowing me to build long-term relationships that I have to this day. It has been a pleasure working with Knauss fellows over the past years and watching the community grow. I am excited to meet the new cohort members and see how they grow as leaders in marine and coastal policy and science.”

Former and current hosts share that fellows are exceptional additions to their offices, often leading the charge and making lasting impacts on their focus areas. Knauss fellows have been described as invaluable, essential, and integral—they not only gain experience from this opportunity but also provide valuable perspectives as experts in their fields.

In the following months, the 2024 finalists will participate in the placement week process to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2024. The 2024 Knauss finalists will become the 45th class of the fellowship and will join a group of over 1,600 professionals who have received hands-on experiences transferring science to policy and management through one-year appointments with federal government offices in Washington, D.C. Want to learn more about the Knauss Fellowship? The Knauss Blog shares stories from current and past Knauss fellows on fellowship experiences and their journeys to D.C.

Placement of the 2024 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate funding in Fiscal Year 2024.

Amara Davis

Amara Davis

Outreach Coordinator
National Sea Grant College Program

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