I haven’t introduced myself here yet, I’m Sarah Close. I am one of Oregon Sea Grant’s Knauss Marine Policy Fellows for 2014. I come to Washington, D.C. via Oregon State University, where I finished my Ph.D. in the Zoology department (now Integrative Biology) in January, just a few short weeks before starting my fellowship. I am an ecologist by training and spent my years at OSU traipsing around the rocky intertidal on the Oregon coast as a member of Bruce Menge’s lab. It’s hard not to miss spending time on the Oregon Coast, but I suppose you could view working in D.C. as a different type of field work.
I am spending my Fellowship year working as a Climate Adaptation Analyst in the Climate Program Office (CPO) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this role, I work for the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program, which supports regional research teams that work with federal, state, local, and tribal partners and stakeholders to enhance preparedness and resilience to climate variability and change.
As you may know if you’ve been following the Sea Grant Scholars Blog for awhile, the Knauss Fellowship is a year-long position. I knew this short timeframe would be a challenge going in, especially since my Ph.D. took me five and a half years! In doing the math recently, it occurred to me that I am already almost a third of the way through my fellowship. That’s terrifying. But it’s also a good opportunity to reflect on the experience so far. To say I have learned a lot is a huge understatement. I am amazed every day at how much there is still to learn, but I find myself understanding the context around me better as each week passes. I am, little by little, piecing together an understanding of the science policy landscape from where I sit.
For me, the Knauss Fellowship is a great fit and I am excited to see where the next two-thirds of my fellowship take me. I’ll try to keep posting more about my experiences as a Knauss Fellow as the year goes on, so please let me know if you have any questions about the program! (any aspiring Knauss-ers out there?)