Maryland’s 2019 Knauss Fellows

Established in 1979, the Knauss Fellowship matches highly qualified graduate students in marine science with “hosts” in Congress or the Executive Branch for a one-year paid fellowship focused on resource management policy. Meet our 2019 fellows:

Maureen Brooks

Maureen Brooks is the interagency and international policy liaison at the Office of the United States Navy’s Oceanographer of the Navy. Her work will focus on oceanography, marine weather, and navigation. Brooks defended her doctoral dissertation for the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), where she studied the interactions between ocean physics and seaweed biology. As an undergraduate at McDaniel College and a master’s student at the University of Maryland, she applied her love of science and math to develop computer models to understand the effects of nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Brooks was also a Blue Waters Fellow with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. She enjoys kayaking, creative writing, and crafting sea creatures from yarn.

Zoraida P. Pérez Delgado

Zoraida P. Pérez Delgado is special assistant to the assistant administrator at NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, where she will concentrate on issues relating to climate, oceans, weather, and coasts. She earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science at the School of Science and Technology at Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a master’s student in the Marine Estuarine and Environmental Science Program at the UMCES Chesapeake Biology Laboratory, Delgado is studying paleoclimatology. For her thesis, she analyzed coral geochemical records from the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans to explore how volcanic eruptions over the last 400 years affected temperature and precipitation patterns. Delgado enjoys traveling, dancing, and working on do-it-yourself and interior design projects.

Melanie Jackson

Melanie Jackson is an executive fellow in NOAA’s Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, where she will serve as the official liaison between NOAA and Congress. Jackson received her undergraduate degree in 2012 in marine science and biology from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. After graduation, she served a term in AmeriCorps as watershed ambassador for the Hackensack River in New Jersey. In 2013, Jackson began her master’s at the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, focusing on algae blooms and nitrogen. She defended her dissertation for her doctorate, specializing in oyster restoration and aquaculture and how oysters remove nitrogen pollution. Jackson enjoys hiking and singing science parody songs for the UMCES Integration and Application Network.

Emily Russ

Emily Russ is working with the Engineer Research and Development Center, part of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, as an advisor to the technical director. She focuses on topics ranging from marine transportation to hurricane resilience. Russ holds two degrees from North Carolina State University: a bachelor’s in marine and coastal resources and a master’s in earth science, with a focus on coastal geomorphology. She also has a certificate in geographic information systems. Russ recently defended her doctoral thesis at the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory, where she researched sediment transport between the lower Susquehanna River and upper Chesapeake Bay — and discovered a passion for promoting coastal resilience through outreach education. She enjoys baking, hiking, and playing ultimate frisbee.

The Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships run from February 1 to January 31 and pay a stipend plus allowances for health insurance, moving expenses, and travel. Students can apply through their state’s Sea Grant program.

Maryland Sea Grant Program

National Sea Grant Program


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