Congratulations to our 2023 Maine Sea Grant Knauss Fellows

Maine Sea Grant is excited to congratulate two Fellows who recently completed the prestigious 2023 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program sponsored by the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program. Ajani Bakari and Logan Kline, both graduates of Maine-based institutions, have spent the past year in D.C. experiencing a unique educational and professional opportunity. “The Knauss Fellowship offers graduate students the invaluable opportunity to put their academic knowledge to practice in tackling marine, coastal, and Great Lakes management and policy challenges at the federal level,” said Jonathan Pennock, National Sea Grant College Program director. 

Maine Sea Grant was excited to see Ajani and Logan selected as 2023 Knauss Fellows, and we are now even more excited to follow their journeys as they transition into their new roles! 

Ajani Bakari graduated from Unity College with a master’s degree in marine science after completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. With a background in planetary astronomy, a decade of science communication experience, and a desire to help society navigate the climate crisis, Ajani was a great fit as a fellow on NOAA’s Communications Team. During the one-year fellowship, Ajani participated on a conference planning committee, conducted interviews for website posts and stories, and helped to publish various articles.

“My time as a Knauss Fellow has arguably been one of the most transformative years of my life, both personally and professionally. Electing to be mentored by NOAA Research Communications Director Michael Murphy was one of the best decisions I could have made. I was provided both the space to make the year my own, and the guidance to make sure I spent my time wisely,” said Ajani. “I hope to continue this momentum that I’ve built and eventually end up in positions where I can be the one providing the mentorship and connections that make the Knauss Fellowship such an excellent tool for producing the next generation of leaders in this space.”

Ajani plans to follow his fellowship by returning to his home state and commissioning in the Army National Guard, an opportunity that would allow him to pursue interests in climate change and security studies. Ajani hopes to one day return to D.C. to conduct research for NOAA or another governmental organization. 

Logan Kline earned a master’s degree in ecology and environmental science at the University of Maine after completing a bachelor of science degree at the University of Maryland in environmental science and policy with a concentration in marine and coastal management and a minor in meteorology. As an undergraduate, Logan interned with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, NASA, and NOAA, the latter through the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship program. During her Hollings internship, she worked with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) Passive Acoustics Group to analyze vessel presence in Caribbean waters. As a graduate student, she collaborated with an interdisciplinary team to investigate the use of remotely sensed imagery and artificial intelligence to monitor colonial nesting seabirds. After being selected as a 2023 Knauss Fellow, Logan was placed on the NOAA Ocean Exploration Team as their Science Communication Fellow, where she traveled at sea, communicated deep sea exploration priorities with the public, and participated in the office’s Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity review panels.

“I have really enjoyed my experience as a [Knauss] Fellow. Through this experience, I’ve visited places like Hawai’i and Alaska for the first time, expanded my knowledge of tribal engagement by participating in an Alaska Native cultural camp, spoke to over 1,000 students about deep sea exploration, and have grown confidence in myself as a public speaker, scientist, and environmental educator,” said Logan.

Following her fellowship, Logan will start a new position as a spatial ecologist with NOAA National Ocean Service’s National Center for Ocean Science within the Marine Spatial Ecology Division.  

Congratulations to Logan and Ajani on the completion of the 2023 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, we look forward to following their adventures ahead!

Posted 13 February, 2024