University of New Orleans graduate student Amanda Kirkland is one of 85 students in the nation named to the 2024 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. Kirkland, who studies marine biology, is pursuing a doctoral degree in biological sciences.
The Knauss Fellowship is a highly competitive process sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program. It is a one-year paid opportunity for current and recent graduates from advanced degree programs to apply their scientific knowledge and experiences to lasting careers in the sciences, policy and public administration.
Kirkland researches the effects of global change on marine calcifiers, such as corals, oysters, clams and shrimp.
Her research, conducted as part University of New Orleans biologist Erin Cox’s lab, includes the examination of the effects of warming and acidification on artificial reef ecosystems.
“Moving forward with my career, I would like to work on science that can affect national policies in an ocean-positive manner,” Kirkland said. “This fellowship will give me a unique opportunity to be placed in the offices where policy is made and enforced, allowing me to work at the intersection of policy, science and outreach.”
Kirkland, a native of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, earned a bachelor's degree in biological conservation with a minor in environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The 85 fellows selected will be placed in federal government offices throughout Washington, D.C., and join the over 1,600 individuals who have participated in the program since its inception in 1979. Some fellows will work within a federal agency as an executive fellow or in a congressional office as a legislative fellow.
Kirkland’s assignment will be with a federal agency that falls within the executive branch.
“Following this fellowship, I will have new connections, knowledge of policy formation and training that can help me lay the groundwork for actionable science in the ocean conservation realm,” Kirkland said.
Over the next few months, the 2024 fellows will participate in the placement week process to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2024.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and those that have assisted me along my path to get here,” Kirkland said.