Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Fellows Find their Match

In November, two new Knauss fellows from Michigan successfully navigated "placement week". Each year the Knuass Fellowship program matches 45 graduate students with a wide range of backgrounds (biology, physical science, policy, law etc.) with an equally diverse set of “hosts” in Washington DC. Finding the right placement for each fellow requires a whole week of interviews, allowing fellows to get to know the available positions and the host offices to identify the students with the skills they need. The match-making process during placement week seems intimidating, but it’s a great way to learn about the federal government and perfect your interview skills.

Maggie Rabb, a sociology PhD student from Michigan State University reports, “I really enjoyed the whole interview process. I got to speak with people in so many different departments and I was surprised at how many were receptive to my sociology background.”  She was thrilled to learn that she will be placed with the Department of State's Marine Conservation International Affairs Office, her first choice position! As part of her new job, Maggie will be supporting international negotiations and developing guidance for managing high seas bottom fisheries, work that requires secret-level security clearance!

Joe Nohner, an aquatics student from the University of Michigan describes placement week as pretty intense. “It reminded me a bit of when I went to Disneyland as a kid, a lot of excitement and expectations, pretty much never stopping all day, riding every 'rollercoaster' there, and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I interviewed with 17 positions and in the end my #1 choice was with the Office of Science and Technology. I clicked well with the people there and everything worked out!” Joe’s new position will involve working on several high profile projects including the national fish habitat action plan, a program to evaluate and address declines in fish habitat, and a new marine spatial planning initiative that hopes to allocate specific activities (e.g., fishing, drilling, marine sanctuaries) to appropriate ocean areas.

Congratulations to Maggie and Joe!