Knauss Fellows from Maryland for 2014

MARYLAND SEA GRANT IS SPONSORING three dedicated graduate and post-graduate students who recently began Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships for 2014 in the Washington, D.C., area. The program, coordinated by the National Sea Grant Office, places fellows in legislative or executive branch offices in the federal government that work on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes policy issues.

The three fellows, all of whom studied at the University System of Maryland, will spend one year using their research knowledge and graduate experiences to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop marine and coastal resources policies and programs.

Tammy Newcomer Johnson

Tammy Newcomer Johnson is spending her fellowship year in the National Sea Grant Office at NOAA, where she serves as a national resource specialist.

As a doctoral student in the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences program at the University of Maryland, College Park, Johnson explores the impacts of urbanization on the ecology and water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Her research focuses on the capacity for stream restoration and stormwater management projects to reduce excess nitrogen flowing from urban areas to the estuary.

Before beginning graduate school, she worked on a number of research projects through a program called the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. These included efforts to map the occurrence of flash floods in the city. She also served as a fellow at the National Science Foundation and collaborated with students and teachers at the K-12 level to design hands-on environmental science lessons revolving around water, biodiversity, and carbon.

Seth Sykora-Bodie

Seth Sykora-Bodie is working at NOAA's Office of Protected Resources, a division charged with conserving the nation's threatened species, including sea turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, and several species of whales.

As the special assistant to the director and deputy director, he helps to coordinate ocean policy between the office and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. As part of a new initiative in collaboration with the Office of Science and Technology, he also works to incorporate planning for climate change into efforts to conserve and manage aquatic species.

Sykora-Bodie is a dual master's degree student in environmental policy and conservation biology at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research originally focused on exploring the best ways for small island nations to prepare for climate impacts, including rising sea levels.

Recently, he turned his attention to conserving marine protected areas -- habitats where regulations curtail commercial fishing to give struggling fish populations the chance to recover. He has studied how changing atmospheric and oceanic conditions could harm or help marine species living in these areas.

Emily Tewes

Emily Tewes is digging into climate change as she works with the Assistant Administrator Climate Goal Board at NOAA.

This group, made up of assistant administrators from different line offices of NOAA, advises the agency's top leaders about issues related to climate change as they develop national policies. The board addresses issues like extreme weather events, how climate affects water resources, building more resilient coasts, and ensuring the sustainability of marine ecosystems.

In 2013, she earned her master's degree from the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences program at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. There, she studied how offshore wind development might affect organisms living along the ocean's bottom on Maryland's Atlantic coast. She also participated in research studies exploring a wide range of topics, including plant chemical ecology, ornithology, and fisheries science.

The Knauss Fellowship, begun in 1979, is designed to present outstanding graduate students with an opportunity to spend a year working with policy and science experts in Washington, D.C. Fellowships run from February 1 to January 31 and pay a yearly stipend plus an allowance for health insurance, moving, and travel. Applicants must apply through the Sea Grant program in their state. For more information, visit:
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