Learn and Network While Working in D.C.

The fellowship provides a one-year, paid experience for highly qualified early career professionals to work on issues related to coastal, marine and Great Lakes science and policy in offices within the executive or legislative branch of government in Washington, D.C.

Graduate students interested in marine, coastal, and Great Lakes science and policy should explore the information about the fellowship as soon as possible and talk to their local Sea Grant program (or the National Sea Grant Office) at least one month prior to the deadline.

Details and application requirements can be accessed in the 2025 Knauss Fellowship Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) (pdf).


To be eligible for the fellowship (which starts each year on Feb. 1 and ends the following year on Jan. 31):

  • A student must be enrolled towards a degree in a graduate program at any point between the onset of the fall term (quarter, trimester, semester, etc.) and the deadline
  • The student’s graduate degree program must be through an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories
  • Students are eligible regardless of nationality; domestic and international students at accredited U.S. institutions may apply
  • Applicants must have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources

Interested and eligible applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Stephanie Ichien or Sarah Kolesar at least one month before the application deadline. 

Learn more about becoming a Knauss Fellow.

Additional resources are also available:



Oregon Sea Grant uses eSeaGrant for fellowship application submissions. To access eSeaGrant, send an email to [email protected] declaring your interest in applying. Please include the name of the fellowship you wish to apply for in the subject line. An eSeaGrant account will then be created for you. All components of your application, including letters of recommendation, will be submitted through eSeaGrant. Stating your interest does not obligate you to apply. We are here to provide assistance as needed; however, please do not wait until the last minute to apply. 


Applications are due Feb. 15, 2024.

John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellows

Lila Ardor Bellucci (2024)

Assignment: Lila is a 2024 Executive Knauss Fellow with the NOAA Office of International Affairs.

Education: Lila received her B.S. in Marine Science from Eckerd College in Florida in 2018 and her M.S. in Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science from Oregon State University in 2022.

Professional and Research Interests: Lila's background in marine science is broad, spanning from the shallows to the deep sea and from the tropics to Antarctica, but her interests are all unified by her desire to positively influence our human relationship with the ocean. Her passion lies especially with the ocean's unsung heroes: microbes, invertebrates, and parts of the deep and polar ocean that most people don't realize they depend on and are connected to. Her Master's thesis focused on deep-sea methane seep microbes in the Eastern Pacific. Her work in Dr. Andrew Thurber's lab at OSU also brought her to Antarctica, where their team studied shallow-water methane seeps under the sea ice. For the last six years, she has also helped manage science operations aboard the Ocean Exploration Trust's deep-sea Exploration Vessel Nautilus, and more recently, she has enjoyed working as an Undersea Specialist and science communicator for National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions. As a Knauss Fellow, Lila is excited to help influence international ocean policy and translate scientific discoveries into lasting impacts on how humans interact with the ocean globally.


Raquel Gilliland (2024)

Assignment: Raquel is a 2024 Executive Knauss Fellow  with the NOAA office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and hopes to learn more about marine law and policy, gain new insight into what goes into the decision-making process, and learn from the experts.

Education: Raquel received a Bachelor's degree in Aquatic and Marine Biology from Stetson University in Florida in 2018. She received her Master's in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University in 2023.

Professional and Research Interests: Raquel conducted her undergraduate research thesis on coral reef ecology and restoration in Roatan, Honduras and the Florida Keys. For her master's thesis research, she studied how to utilize cooperative fisheries research to better understand harmful algal blooms along the Oregon coast. She also worked on shark conservation, public outreach and education, water pollution, and microplastic pollution. Other research topics that interest her are international affairs, marine seafood and fisheries, marine renewable energy, and marine mammals. Raquel enjoys working at the intersection of science, policy, and stakeholder interests.


Kirsten Steinke (2024)

Assignment: Kirsten will be working with the BOEM Office of Strategic Policy and International Affairs on initiatives like offshore wind energy and carbon sequestration.

Education: Kirsten received a B.S. in Marine Biology from Western Washington University in 2015 and a Ph.D. in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences from Oregon State University in 2023.

Professional and Research Interests: As a Ph.D. student, she studied how environmental and climate change impact Antarctic krill at the Antarctic Peninsula, examining the implications that changes in the reproductive cycle of krill could have on the Southern Ocean ecosystem and the global krill fishery. As she starts her career, Kirsten is interested in exploring the nexus of science, communication and policy. She wants to help make research more available so that the public has a better grasp of scientific knowledge while at the same time making the research actionable so that policy decisions are well-grounded in the best available science. Kirsten has a passion for ocean conservation and climate solutions and wants to spend her life working to progress both of these initiatives.


Ashley Hann (2022)

Assignment: Ashley is a 2022 Knauss Executive Fellow with the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy

Education: Ashley received her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2017 and her M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University in 2021.

Professional and Research Interests: Ashley is an interdisciplinary scientist who is passionate about furthering understanding of dynamic marine ecosystems while facilitating sustainable and meaningful interactions for others with marine environments. Her graduate work focused on using autonomous techniques to assess the dynamics of Antarctic zooplankton species while also considering best means of sharing Antarctic science with a larger audience. As a committed science educator and communicator, Ashley always aims to consider how science can be applied to serve society and the environment, whether that be in the Antarctic, in the offices of Washington, DC, or in one’s own backyard.


Victoria Moreno (2022)

Assignment: Victoria Moreno is a 2022 Executive Fellow with NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research as a Policy Analyst and Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator.

Education: Victoria received a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Richmond in 2019. She received her Master in Public Policy at Oregon State University (OSU) in 2020. While at OSU, she was a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center Fellow.

Professional and Research Interests: Victoria is an interdisciplinary scientist passionate about building resilience within marine and coastal communities and industries to adapt to environmental and anthropogenic stressors. Victoria's graduate research explored how Oregon's Dungeness crab industry members perceived their adaptive capacity to ocean acidification and other environmental stressors. Most of her research was focused on demonstrating the importance of the inclusion of stakeholders when considering policy and management decisions.  She is excited to work at the interface of marine science and policy and enact change for marine and coastal communities by working toward collective desires while working with the Assistant Administrator of NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

In addition to her graduate work, Victoria has been working with COMPASS Science Communications as a Regional Engagement Fellow to engage in her passions of translating scientific and community perspectives to influence marine and coastal change through policy and management. As a fellow with COMPASS, she supports the Science Solutions Program by analyzing and synthesizing current policy and science and supporting scientists in their efforts to connect with policymakers and other audiences, specifically focusing on the western U.S.

Feel free to check out her website at www.victoriadoreen.com, connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @victoriadoreen2.


Michelle Nguyen (2022)

Assignment: Michelle is a 2022 Knauss Executive Fellow with the NOAA Budget Office, Budget Formulation and Communications Division

Education: Michelle received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University Galveston Campus in 2018 and her M.S. in Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science from Oregon State University in 2021.

Professional and Research Interests: Michelle is an invertebrate physiologist interested in understanding how key invertebrate species will respond to forecasted ocean conditions through the use of experimental biology. Her thesis investigated the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on the growth and respiration of Oregon pink shrimp larvae. Through stakeholder engagement and outreach activities throughout her undergraduate and graduate programs, she discovered her passion for communicating science to diverse audiences. Through these activities, she also realized her desire to better understand the role of science in policy-making and resource allocation. In her fellowship year, Michelle hopes to explore the nexus between science and policy while broadening her knowledge of effective science communication.


Hannah Wellman (2022)

Assignment: Hannah is a 2022 Knauss Executive Fellow with the Marine Mammal Commission.

Education: Hannah received her B.A. in Archaeology from Tufts University in 2012, an M.S. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon (UO) in 2016, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2021, also from UO .

Professional and Research Interests: Hannah is an anthropological archaeologist interested in human-animal/human-environment interactions and historical ecology. Her academic research and training focused on understanding past environments and human-animal relationships in order to inform present-day wildlife management and environmental conservation concerns. She is particularly interested in using these data to affirm and inform tribal ecological sovereignty and resource management. Hannah’s Ph.D. explored pre-contact tribal ancestral use of sea otters and cetaceans on the Oregon coast, especially in the context of potential future sea otter reintroductions to Oregon. Throughout her Ph.D. Hannah focused on building her science communication and outreach skills. She is excited to delve into the intersection of policy, communication, and stakeholder priorities involving marine mammals.


Lu Wang (2021)

Assignment: Lu is a 2021 Knauss Executive Fellow with NOAA OAR's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

Education: Lu completed her B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2014 and her PhD in Microbiology from Oregon State University in 2020.

Professional and Research Interests: Lu is a microbial ecologist interested in how research findings are used to inform policy, and how policy decisions influence which research projects and areas are prioritized. She is also interested in expanding research opportunities and mentorship for students of color. Her dissertation focused on how environmental perturbations such as nutrient pollution, transplantation, and ocean acidification influence seagrass microbiomes. This body of work contributes to our basic understanding of the relationship between seagrasses and their microbial communities, and highlights how the seagrass microbiome can potentially exacerbate the effects of environmental stressors and alter biogeochemical cycling within coastal sediments. More broadly, she is interested in research related to global change on both macro and micro levels in order to enhance our overall understanding and create proactive solutions towards mitigation and conservation.

Recent publications:
Recovery and Community Succession of the Zostera marina Rhizobiome after Transplantation 
Nutrient enrichment increases size of Zostera marina shoots and enriches for sulfur and nitrogen cycling bacteria in root-associated microbiomes 


Theresa Keith (2021)

Assignment: Theresa Keith is a 2021 Executive Fellow with NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research in the role of UN Decade-Domestic Engagement Policy Advisor and Secretariat.

Education: Theresa received a B.S. in Biology and Spanish Language with a minor in Latin American Studies from the University of San Francisco in 2018. She participated in the Joint-Degree Water Cooperation and Diplomacy program, receiving an M.S. in Water Resources Policy and Management awarded by Oregon State University and IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education (Netherlands) and an M.A. in Water Cooperation and Diplomacy awarded by the University for Peace (Costa Rica) in 2020.

Professional and Research Interests: Theresa is an interdisciplinary scientist passionate about the science, policy, and human dimensions of a changing climate. She is enthusiastic about international collaboration and has an appreciation for the diverse ways in which communities and environments are intertwined around the world. Her graduate research explored women’s roles in climate change adaptation around the world and examined the differences between academic and practitioner perspectives. Most of her research has centered around water, both marine and fresh, and she is looking forward to working on the UN Decade for Ocean Science during her fellowship year.

In addition to her graduate work, Theresa is excited to be a part of several efforts to communicate science and engage different communities, particularly young people. She is an active member of the North American Youth Parliament for Water and serves as the Editor and Program Manager for their Drops of Change blog, in which young professionals share their views on climate, adaptation, and water topics. Theresa will also serve this year as an All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador representing the United States at the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance where she will work with her counterparts from other countries to develop communication and engagement strategies to promote conservation of the Atlantic Ocean.

Connect with Theresa on Twitter @waterworldtrvlr.


Willem Klajbor (2021)

Assignment: Willem Klajbor is a 2021 Knuass Executive Fellow working jointly between the Offices of National Marine Sanctuaries and Fisheries and the National Center for Environmental Information.

Education: Will received a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy and a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2018 and an M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University in 2020.

Professional and Research Interests: Will is a transdisciplinary scientist who works at the nexus of social, economic, and environmental systems. His graduate work explored the application of dynamic seascape classification methods to fisheries management objectives in the California Current and socioeconomic risk in the Gulf of Alaska. As an undergraduate and a graduate student, Will has pursued opportunities that allowed him to connect new and exciting science to tangible policy and regulatory solutions for complex environmental issues. In his spare time, you can find will out on a trail or reading in his hammock.

 Connect with Willem on LinkedIn and Twitter @willklajbor.


Katherine Dziedzic (2020)

Assignment: Katherine is a 2020 Knauss Executive Fellow with NOAA Headquarters as a Congressional Fellow in the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Education: Katherine completed her B.S. in Marine Science and Biology at the University of Miami, FL in 2013 and her Ph.D. in Zoology from Oregon State University in 2019. Following her Ph.D., she was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Oregon State University in the Department of Integrative Biology.

Professional and Research Interests: Katherine is a coral reef biologist passionate about finding ways science can be effectively communicated and applied to management and policy. Her graduate research explored how corals can adapt to changing ocean temperatures using genomic techniques. She conducted experiments across multiple coral species from Panama and the Indo-Pacific to determine differences in the capacity for adaptation and survival – information that can help pinpoint more at-risk coral species for priority in conservation and management efforts.

In addition to her graduate work, Katherine is very passionate about communicating science to a variety of audiences such as the general public, scientific audiences, and policy-makers and managers. She is constantly thinking about different ways to effectively communicate science and educate her audiences about what is happening to coral reef ecosystems around the world. She has taken part in many science communication courses and workshops at OSU, has been a guest on a local radio show to talk about the current and future state of coral reefs and her research, and was an Oregon Museum of Science and Industry Science Communication Fellow.

Feel free to follow her on Twitter @_K_Dziedzic.


Leah Mupas Segui (2020)

Assignment: Leah Mupas Segui is the 2020 Knauss Executive Fellow in the NOAA Satellite Oceanography and Climatology Division as part of the GEO Blue Planet team.

Education: Leah completed her B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Marine Biology and a minor in Geography with an emphasis in Natural Resources and the Environment from San Diego State University in 2010 and her Ph.D. in Zoology from Oregon State University in 2019.

Professional and Research Interests: Leah's dissertation explored the role of stage structure in species interactions and its consequences across levels of biological organization. Specifically, her work on crayfish contributes to our understanding of how life history traits affect feeding rates, nutrient cycling, gut microbial communities, and the impact of introduced species on the recipient ecological community. She is passionate about community building and social justice and has led efforts to support diverse and inclusive communities in STEM.

Check out Leah's website https://leahsegui.weebly.com/, not to be confused with https://crayoftheday.weebly.com/ or follow her on Twitter @LMSegui.


Katie Morrice (2020)

Assignment: Katie Morrice is serving her Knauss fellowship as an executive fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy at the Water Power Technologies Office.

Education: Katie completed her B.A. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Marine Sciences at Smith College and her M.S. in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She is currently a PhD candidate at Oregon Health & Science University, working on a degree in Environmental Science and Engineering, with a concentration in Estuaries and Ocean Systems.

Professional and Research Interests: Katie is interested in oceanography, fluid dynamics, and fisheries and how modeling can be used to improve our understanding of physical processes and their influence on estuary and coastal systems. Her PhD dissertation focuses on the Columbia River estuary and how it supports juvenile Chinook salmon, with a particular emphasis on how river dynamics and spatio-temporal variability influence migration patterns. She is particularly interested in marine spatial planning and how modeling can be used as a tool to address management questions and to inform decision-makers on how to sustainably manage marine resources. Previously, she worked as a fisheries observer in the Bering Sea and as a California Sea Grant State Fellow at the Delta Science Program, an agency tasked with providing the best available science to inform water and environmental decision-making in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Papers: Environmental and behavioral controls on juvenile Chinook salmon migration pathways in the Columbia River estuary

An Individual-based Model to Evaluate Juvenile Chinook Salmon Migration in the Columbia River Estuary


Vanessa Constant (2020)

Assignment: Vanessa Constant is a 2020 Knuass Legislative Fellow with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Education: Vanessa received her B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University in 2014 and her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from Oregon State University in 2019.

Professional and Research Interests: Vanessa is a coastal ecologist passionate about finding ways to couple science with policy for the development of practical solutions to complex environmental problems. Her dissertation research explored the role of marine subsidies in invasive beach grass growth and the significance of this relationship for coastal protection along the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast. Throughout her graduate program, Vanessa also pursued opportunities in science communication and interdisciplinary collaboration, delving deeply into the role of science in policy, management, and public understanding. Vanessa is particularly interested in using scientifically grounded and stakeholder-informed strategies to build coastal adaptive capacity.


Katie Darr (2020)

Assignment: Katie Darr is a 2020 Knauss Executive Fellow with the Marine Protected Areas Center in NOAA's Office of Marine Sanctuaries. 

Education: Katie received her B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University in 2017 and completed her M.S. in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State University in 2019. 

Professional and Research Interests: Katie is interested in communicating the connections between people's lives and the ocean with the goal of promoting ecologically and economically sustainable resource use. While Katie's thesis research focused on illuminating these connections between Oregonians and their deep sea, she is looking forward to highlighting these social-ecological connections in the context of recreation and tourism in Marine Protected Areas during her fellowship year. Ultimately, Katie is invested in developing coastal management strategies that support a healthy environment, economy, and community.