Monday, July 8, 2019

A day in the life of a Knauss Fellow (celebrity sightings not guaranteed)

By Jillian Mayer

Jillian snapped a photo with activist/"Queer Eye" star Karamo Brown and actor/comedian Alec Mapa at a staff briefing on LGBTQ+ adoption. Photo: Jillian Mayer
As a current NOAA-Sea Grant Knauss fellow working in a Democrat Senator’s office, I am often asked what I do all day. To help answer that question, I tracked my schedule on a random Thursday at work. I hope this is a helpful snapshot for potential applicants and future fellows:

9am: Workday started

9am-10am: Sorted emails received overnight into folders by subject and priority

10am-11am: Drafted – and later edited and finalized – a press release on toxic PFAS chemicals found in firefighting foam in anticipation of the Senator’s press event on the topic the following day

11am-11:30am: Wrote my mid-year report for Michigan Sea Grant

11:30am-12:30pm: Finished editing and sent a letter I wrote on behalf of the Senator to the Government Accountability Office requesting an investigation into non-competitive oil and gas leasing on public lands

12:30pm-3pm: Conducted online research for a new letter I was tasked with on the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter sunscreens

3pm-4pm: Drafted said letter on behalf of the Senator to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration

4pm-5pm: Checked in with supervisors and colleagues about priorities for the next week

5pm-6pm: Caught up on a webinar by the Environmental Law Institute on the basics of the Clean Water Act

6pm: Workday ended

I’ve gotten into the bad habit of eating lunch at my desk while completing other tasks, but we are encouraged to take an hour-long lunchbreak. This schedule did not include other common activities like meeting with constituents, preparing the Senator for committee hearings or floor action, collaborating with other legislative offices, and attending staff briefings on any topic.

Additionally, almost everything on the above schedule was – or could be – done in collaboration with colleagues in my office. I find my office to be very collaborative, which I deeply appreciate and know is not the case with all Knauss fellows’ placements.

I hope this helps!

Jillian and colleagues with Senator Elizabeth Warren in the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Jillian Mayer
Jillian with presidential hopeful "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg at a pro-choice rally on the Supreme Court steps. Photo: Jillian Mayer

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