Recent University of Vermont Rubenstein School Master’s graduate Hannah Lachance ‘19 has received a 2020 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Sea Grant College Program. One of 69 finalists from 27 Sea Grant programs, Lachance, who was nominated by the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program, will gain hands-on experience transferring science to policy and management through a one-year appointment in a federal government office in Washington, D.C.
The 2020 Knauss Fellowship finalists will become the 41st class of one of the most prestigious marine policy fellowships in the United States. Since 1979, Sea Grant has provided one-year Knauss fellowships to more than 1,300 early career professionals to work with federal agencies in D.C.
“With each year and class, we continue to be more impressed with the Sea Grant Knauss fellows,” said Jonathan Pennock, National Sea Grant College Program Director. “They bring fresh perspectives and experiences to the coastal and marine science and policy work happening in D.C., and they continue to raise the bar for us all. Congratulations to the 2020 Knauss finalists!”
At the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory on Lake Champlain, Lachance focused her research with Professor Jason Stockwell on the conservation and restoration of a native group of prey fish, including cisco, bloater, and kiyi, in the Great Lakes. She discovered how to genetically identify the species in their early life stages and to distinguish hatch dates, growth rates, and distribution of the larvae of each species.
“My professional experience and interests have spanned a wide variety of topics, however the root of all my research, science communication, and teaching endeavors has been conservation and restoration of our native resources,” said Lachance. “The Knauss Fellowship will provide me with an exciting new opportunity to see how policy plays into the conservation and restoration of our ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources.”
Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes several rounds of review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students finishing Masters (M.S.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine science, policy, or management apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs. If applicants are successful at the state program level, their applications are then reviewed by a national panel of experts.
“Hannah immediately impressed us as a worthy candidate for a Knauss Fellowship,” said Breck Bowden, Lake Champlain Sea Grant Director and Professor in the Rubenstein School. “She has strong leadership skills, has engaged in cutting edge research, and effectively communicated the results of her work to others. The Knauss Fellowship will allow her to further build her skills in leadership and in policy development on a national stage.”
This fall, Lachance and the other 2020 finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. to interview with several executive or legislative offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowship in February 2020.
Executive appointments for the 2019 Knauss fellows included placements throughout the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as with Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, U.S. Navy, and other agencies.
Placement of 2020 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate funding in Fiscal Year 2020.