Monday, July 22, 2013

A great learning experience

Six months in to my Knauss Fellowship and I’m still just as excited as I was on the first day of work. But time is passing very quickly.

The first few months were spent just figuring out how the Office of Marine Conservation at the Department of State functions and learning a wealth of acronyms that sometimes still seems like a foreign language.

At work, I’ve been learning quite a bit about the management of international fisheries, the implementation of foreign aspects of US domestic law, the Global Environment Facility, marine pollution and aquaculture. I also had a chance to attend a five-nation fisheries negotiation, where delegations agreed on the need to collaborate on scientific research and reached consensus on conservation and management measures.

The fellowship also provides a wealth of learning opportunities outside of work. I’ve attended Congressional hearings – including seeing Titanic director James Cameron testify on the need for deep sea exploration – briefings on the latest science and policy advancements – blue carbon anyone? – and countless after work receptions.

Two highlights were getting behind-the-scenes tours of the U.S. Naval Observatory and Natural History Museum. The observatory maintains official time for the United States and fellows had a chance to see Saturn and its rings through the observatory’s telescope. The museum has several oceans-focused rooms and we got a glimpse at some of the exciting research that occurs in the laboratories in the non-public portions of the building.

There’s so much going on, in fact, that it can be hard to focus on exactly what you want to accomplish by the time the fellowship ends. That’s my next task, and I’ve started to pursue some new interests and get involved in a few exciting projects. More on those later.

Dave Gershman
Knauss Marine Policy Fellow
(2/2013 – 2/2014)