Each year, the National Sea Grant Program matches highly qualified graduate students with hosts in the legislative or executive branches of government in Washington, D.C., for the prestigious Knauss Fellowship. Alaska Sea Grant Knauss Fellow Lindsey Stadler is spending her fellowship year with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Office of Protected Resources.
Last fall, Stadler interviewed with 20 offices during an intensive week-long placement process. While she saw herself enjoying placements in every one of them, one in particular stood out. “What drew me to the NOAA Office of Protected Resources is its mission to protect marine resources and have a positive impact on the ecosystems they live in,” recalled Stadler. “It was also clear that the office is filled with knowledgeable and passionate people that I would be privileged to learn from.”
Since starting the fellowship in February, Stadler has been working to conserve and recover imperiled marine species and their habitats as the special advisor to the division’s director, Kimberly Damon-Randall. Much of Stadler’s fellowship involves coordinating development of an advanced sampling and technology program for risk reduction and recovery of endangered and imperiled marine species. She is also designing graphics and helping coordinate events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark Endangered Species Act.
In March, she participated in the Protective Species Assessment Workshop in Miami. She volunteered at Capitol Hill’s Ocean Week and is attending the Seventh Biennial Conference on the Marine Transportation System. She has connected with state and national leaders, including meeting for coffee with Alaska’s U.S. Representative Mary Peltola after attending a hearing on Capitol Hill. “My typical workday is certainly busy, but I’m still taking advantage of all of the opportunities that the fellowship affords,” said Stadler.
Although Washington is quite a change from Fairbanks, Alaska, where Stadler completed her master’s degree, she has been surprised by how much she is enjoying her time there. “I’d like to continue my marine policy journey in D.C. for at least another year,” said Stadler. “Ultimately, I’d like to return to the West Coast to contribute to addressing fisheries issues there.”
Reflecting on her fellowship thus far, she added, “I’ve already had amazing opportunities and am only at the halfway point. I highly recommend this fellowship and encourage any interested graduate students to reach out to current or past fellows to learn more.”