What is the Knauss Fellowship? And Who is it for? Introducing our 2024 Knauss Fellow, Rosie Chapina

By Anna Marchessault
November 08, 2023

Sea Grant Knauss Fellowships are one-year, paid fellowships for graduate students interested in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and policies. The 2025 Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship is now accepting applicants. Graduate students from all disciplines who are interested in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and national policy decisions are welcome to apply.

Rosie Chapina, a University of Vermont Rubenstein School graduate student, has been nominated as a Lake Champlain Sea Grant 2024 Knauss Fellow. The 2024 Knauss Fellowship finalists will become the 45th 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 1,500 early career professionals to work with federal agencies in D.C. 

"Rosie is an exceptional scientist and emerging leader who is passionate about bridging science, people, and policy,” said Lake Champlain Sea Grant director, Anne Jefferson. “I am thrilled that Rosie has been selected for the prestigious Knauss Fellowship, which is often an important springboard for high-impact careers in marine and aquatic science and policy.”

Rosie is originally from San Jose, California, and earned a B.S. in Forensic Science from the University of Texas at El Paso. Rosie’s relationship with the Sea Grant Network goes back to 2016 when she interned at Maryland Sea Grant, conducting research at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons Island. At the University of Vermont, Rosie conducts research on the ecology of Mysis, a small shrimp-like crustacean. She evaluates Mysis behavior and migration patterns in Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes. 

Rosie’s one-year fellowship based in Washington D.C. will begin in February. Fellows can match with Executive or Legislative offices. Executive appointments for Knauss fellows can include placements throughout NOAA as well as with the Department of Energy, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Science Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies. Legislative placements can include the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Majority), the House Committee on Natural Resources (Majority), the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Majority and Minority), and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

“I constantly put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable because that is the only way you learn – the Knauss fellowship will allow me to grow in different ways,” Rosie shared. “During placement week I interviewed with 20 different offices, it was a learning experience in its own.”

Last month, Rosie and other 2024 finalists participated in a virtual placement week to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Rosie was matched with the NOAA Ocean Exploration and Expedition office. With a team of ecologists, geologists, archaeologists, educators, and more, the NOAA Ocean Exploration office is dedicated to exploring the deep ocean.

“I am very excited to be part of the ocean exploration team, I will lead briefings on a variety of science and exploration topics which will definitely push me out of my comfort zone,” said Rosie. “Understanding how policy is implemented and actively engaging with diverse audiences including policymakers, is vital if you want to zoom out from the realm of science and seek to understand a different perspective of the role science has in our society.”

Learn more about the Knauss Fellowship and the 2025 application timeline on the Lake Champlain Sea Grant website.