Monday, September 12, 2011

Five New Fellows in 2011!!

Michigan Sea Grant helped five graduate students secure fellowships this year - a record number! This post will provide a brief introduction to each of the new fellows.  Hopefully you will hear from them directly in the coming months.

Michigan native, Cassie Bradley, received the Great Lakes Commission - Sea Grant FellowshipCassie is a graduate of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where she studied how shoreline development, like rip rap and bulkheads, affect marine life.  During the fellowship, which began in June 2011, Cassie will work on projects related to wind energy, invasive species and water management in the Great Lakes region.  We're excited that this fellowship was able to bring Cassie, and her ecological and wave energy modeling know-how, back to the Great Lakes region.

Liz Durfee and Zach Hecht-Leavitt, both graduates of the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources, were awarded NOAA Coastal Management Fellowships. During this two year fellowship, Liz will be working with Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan’s Coastal Management Program on working waterfronts. Her mission is to use her planning background to study waterfront privatization and help ensure coastal access for a variety of uses, including shipping, commercial fishing and recreation. 

Zach's fellowship assignment is based in Albany, New York where he will use his GIS expertise to support marine spatial planning.  Marine spatial planning is essentially a way of thoughtfully divvying up coastal and offshore areas for fishing, oil and gas production, wildlife sanctuaries and other uses. You can read one of Zach's earlier posts below. Although we will probably see more of Liz during the next two years, we are excited to learn from both NOAA fellows about these hot topics.

Kyle Molton and Eric MacMillan were selected for the Knauss Fellowship and will move to Washington, D.C. in January 2012. Both Kyle and Eric recently completed MS degrees in Michigan State University’s Fisheries and Wildlife Department where they researched Great Lakes fisheries issues. Kyle and Eric have already gotten some press attention!  See: State News and MSU News

Neither will know their exact assignment until after a weeklong interview process in November. Kyle expects to work in a congressional office researching issues, communicating with constituents and helping legislators address marine and Great Lakes concerns. Eric hopes focus on fisheries management and work in a federal agency like the National Marine Fisheries Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Four of the five new fellows joined Michigan Sea Grant for our annual staff retreat in Port Huron.  They successfully survived long discussions about program planning and a fun night of Great Lakes perch and Michigan beer.  We all hope the fellows will stay in touch.

These paid, full-time fellowship positions should help launch each recent graduate into exciting careers as natural resource professionals. We are excited to hear the stories! Stay tuned.

- Lynn, Michigan Sea Grant Fellowship Coordinator