Two Delaware Sea Grant nominees named Knauss Finalists

Jennifer Joseph and Sam Fielding, two University of Delaware graduate students, have been named finalists for the 2020 Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, awarded annually to the best and the brightest graduate students interested in environmental policy.

The Knauss Fellowship, named after John A. Knauss, one of Sea Grant's founders and a former NOAA administrator, matches highly qualified graduate students with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of government located in the Washington, D.C. area for a one-year paid fellowship.

Joseph and Fielding were among 69 finalists selected from a nationwide pool of 115 applicants from 30 Sea Grant programs.

The Knauss Fellowship provides assistance to qualified graduate students looking to work with federal agencies, and Knauss Fellows often help members of Congress and other federal entities with the management of ocean resources.

Gathering real world political experience is of the utmost importance for both of this year’s nominees. Both have requested to work within the executive branch and will go through a match week to determine their final placement in October.

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Jennifer Joseph

Joseph is completing a master’s degree in Marine Bioscience in Danielle Dixson’s lab at the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Her research has been investigating habitat selection of juvenile coral reef fish at the Smithsonian Research Station on Carrie Bow Cay, Belize.

When not conducting research, Joseph regularly volunteers for Sea Grant events on and off campus and usually gives tours of the lab during UD’s Coast Day, where the campus is open to the general public. With other graduate students at UD, Joseph also founded the university’s Society for Women in Marine Science (SWIMS) chapter.

Regarding her desire to apply for the Knauss Fellowship, Joseph noted that in order to tackle global problems, today’s challenges require an integration of various scientific fields.

“My research to date has required me to work with a variety of specialists, including marine chemists, environmental lawyers, and nonprofit organizations, bolstering my skills in science communication amongst like-minded professionals,” said Joseph. “This fellowship would allow me to work with people from diverse backgrounds, making me better qualified to advocate for the management of our ocean’s resources.”

Sam Fielding

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Before beginning his work on a Ph.D. in Marine Policy at the University of Delaware in 2017, Fielding gained experience in a broad range of scientific and political spheres, including working for the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. and for the City of Pacific Grove in California.

After receiving his masters, Fielding was awarded a Fulbright scholarship as a researcher in China where he “gained a broad knowledge of Chinese administrative policies and challenges to effective coastal management.” He is currently researching the economics of coastal communities.

Moving forward, Fielding said he hopes that the Knauss Fellowship can help him learn even more about government and environmental policy.

“A Knauss fellowship would complement my academic pursuit with practical federal policy experience working inside of government,” said Fielding. “This fellowship would expose me to the realities of federal policy making and the role science and economics play in this arena.”

Learn more about the Knauss Fellowship program and the other finalists in this story on the National Sea Grant Program’s website.