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2017 Knauss Fellows Host Office Placements

Find out where Virginia’s 2017 Knauss fellows will be spending the next year.


Virginia’s 2017 Knauss fellows will begin their year in Washington, D.C. host offices on February 1.

On February 1, six Knauss fellows supported by Virginia Sea Grant will begin working in host offices in legislative or executive branches of government in Washington, D.C. The Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program teaches graduate students from around the country about national policy decisions that affect ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources, while also giving them an opportunity to contribute their knowledge to current issues facing the nation. The National Sea Grant College Program established the fellowship in 1979.

Look below to find out where Virginia’s fellows will be spending the next year.

Version 2Taylor Armstrong, executive finalist, NOAA Research Ocean Acidification Program

“Having researched algae toxins for two years, I am excited to experience the integral next step of marine science: the policies that transform research into action. The Knauss fellowship provides me with the opportunity to move out of the laboratory and contribute to the translation of experimental discoveries that will shape the future of our marine environment.”

Taylor received her bachelor’s in marine science from the University of South Carolina in 2013. She is currently earning her master’s in marine science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, with concentrations in aquatic health and marine policy. 

gina-digiantonio-1_webGina Digiantonio, executive finalist, Department of the Interior Office of Policy Analysis

“The Knauss fellowship will allow me to work on pressing coastal issues, and I’m very excited to draw connections between scientific research, marine policies, and end users.”

Gina graduated from Drake University with a bachelor’s in biology in 2014, and expects to graduate from the University of Virginia with a master’s in environmental sciences in 2017.

sasha-doss-2_web_editedSasha Doss, executive finalist, NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources

“I am most excited to work with and learn from the professionals that shape our interaction with marine resources and to learn how they translate science into policy.”

Sasha graduated with a bachelor’s in biology and a bachelor’s in environmental studies from Washington and Lee University in 2013. She is currently a master’s candidate in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Department at Virginia Tech, and expects to graduate after the fall 2016 semester.

melissa-karp-1Melissa Karp, executive finalist, NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology

“I am very excited for the opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of people on marine policy issues. Up until this point I have been primarily on the research side of marine science, and am excited to have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working on marine policy issues, and getting to see how marine science research and policy come together at the federal level.”

Karp graduated from Tufts University in 2013 with a bachelor’s in biology, and a bachelor’s in environmental science. She graduated with a master’s in marine science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in August 2016.

Laverty_Lab_editedAmanda Laverty, executive finalist, NOAA Ocean Service Office of Response and Restoration

“I’m excited to pursue this Fellowship to engage with policy makers, and gain experiences that will enrich my understanding of policy. I’m eagerly looking forward to this broadening my horizons, and aiding me in becoming a more rounded scientist.”

Amanda earned her bachelor’s in ocean and earth science from Old Dominion University in 2014. She expects to receive her master’s at the same school, and in the same subject after the fall 2016 semester.

julia-snouck-hurgronje_editedJulia Snouck-Hurgronje, legislative finalist, Senator Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Julia earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Clemson University and the Calhoun Honors College in 2010. She is currently enrolled in a dual master’s program, and expects to receive her master’s in public policy and master’s in marine science in 2016 from the College of William & Mary, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

“I am excited about Knauss because it really feels like the perfect culmination of the dual degree program. I get to use all of the skills I’ve learned in both programs to work on issues that I care about, at the highest levels of our government. I am so excited to get an inside view of Congress, and to learn what it really takes to pass and implement effective environmental policies that are based on sound science.”