Virginia Environmental Endowment continues support of Commonwealth Fellowship

The Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) has awarded a grant for the continued support of the Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship. The Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship provides recent graduates with on-the-job training at a state agency or non-governmental organization, where they will learn about state-level policy and management processes. This $30,000 grant from VEE will help support the Commonwealth Fellowship in 2021 and 2022.

Since its inception in 2017, the Commonwealth Fellowship has supported nine recent graduates from Virginia institutions as they address coastal issues including water pollution, shoreline erosion, community resilience, electronic permitting, and blue crab fisheries management.

“The Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship has advanced the career of recent architecture, policy, natural and marine science graduates from across the state,” said Virginia Sea Grant Fellowship & Research Coordinator Sam Lake. “This fellowship gives them an unmatched opportunity to gain hands-on experience at the interface of science and policy at the state level.”

Commonwealth Host offices have included the Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coast Reserve.

The 2020 Commonwealth Fellows, Nicki Gustafson and Shurui Zhang, are contributing to Virginia’s Coastal Resilience Master Plan and the Department of Environmental Quality’s Watersheds Program to develop monitoring methods for state waters with poor water quality.

“VEE is pleased to have been part of the original supporters of the Commonwealth Fellowship in 2017 and to be a partner with Virginia Sea Grant and state agencies in continuing to give recent post-graduate students a real-life experience working at the intersection of science and policy in state natural resource agencies,” said Joseph Maroon, executive director of VEE. “We are also encouraged to see that several of these very talented young people end up in state government positions where they can continue to make a difference.”

Photos by Aileen Devlin | Virginia Sea Grant
Published May 5, 2021.

“We are also encouraged to see that several of these very talented young people end up in state government positions where they can continue to make a difference,” Joseph Maroon said.

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