Three Maine Sea Grant Fellows Receive Knauss Placements

The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The Fellowship, named after one of Sea Grant’s founders, former NOAA Administrator, John A. Knauss, matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one-year paid fellowship. We are excited to announce that three Maine Sea Grant Fellows: Gabrielle (Gabby) Hillyer, Aubrey Jane, and Emily Nocito began their executive placements this month, February 2024.

“Knauss fellows over the years have consistently and thoughtfully applied their unique knowledge and skill sets to developing solutions to issues that affect people across the nation,” said Jonathan Pennock Ph.D., Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “We have no doubt that they will continue the tradition of serving through science.”

Maine Sea Grant wishes these students well in this new endeavor.

Headshot of Gabby Hillyer
Gabrielle Hillyer, NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Fellow, Executive Branch

Gabby Hillyer graduated from the University of Maine with a dual master’s degree in Oceanography and Marine Policy, and a Ph.D. in ecology and environmental sciences. Gabby’s graduate work focused on improving knowledge concerning water quality issues in the Gulf of Maine to improve the shellfish industry’s success; in particular, building a particle tracking model in an estuarine system to track point sources of pollution and model hydrodynamic flushing effects within the system. For her Knauss Fellowship, she will be working for the NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Policy and Congressional Team.

“I’m very excited to take advantage of every opportunity, but most importantly ones that allow me to communicate about issues emerging here in Maine.”

Aubrey Jane
Aubrey Jane, Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management Research Fellow, Executive Branch

Aubrey Jane completed a master’s degree in marine sciences at the University of New England, where she participated in the American Fisheries Society and served as the Marine/Biological Sciences Student Association President. Aubrey’s interests revolve around the ecology and physiology of marine animals relevant to Maine’s working waterfront. Aubrey will be working at the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management (BOEM) as the Ecosystem Science Fellow in their Office of Environmental Programs.

“My placement will give me valuable insights into issues very relevant to Maine, and I look forward to working at the intersection of science, industry, and policy. I’m also excited to bring what I learn back to the Gulf of Maine in 2025.”

Emily Nocito
Emily Nocito, NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Research Fellow, Executive Branch

Emily Nocito is a graduate of the University of Maine. She defended her thesis on marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and earned a master’s degree in Marine Policy before continuing her education at the University of Colorado to complete her Ph.D. in environmental science. Emily will spend her Knauss Fellowship working with the NOAA OAR as a policy advisor to the U.S. Implementation for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science.

“I am most excited to travel to Barcelona for the UN Ocean Decade Conference, where people from all over the world will be coming together to discuss the first four years of the Decade – what has been done to address the challenges outlined in the Decade launch? How do we move forward to continue to collaborate and work towards the ocean we want? To be working on something that is so important on the local, Federal, and global level is a dream come true!”

Posted 13 February, 2024