Two student applicants sponsored by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant were selected for Knauss fellowships this year, and both have begun their respective positions working on issues related to protecting water resources. 

Najwa Obeid and Will Tyburczy both wrote in to update us on the positions they selected and the specific areas where they will be focusing their energies. 

“My host office is the Division of Ocean Sciences at NSF,” writes Najwa. “I will be involved in activities under the Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) cross-foundation portfolio, and in particular, the new Coastal SEES program. The goal of Coastal SEES is to support interdisciplinary research on the dynamic interactions between human behavior, physical forces, and ecological processes in the coastal zone. This program will support fundamental research to facilitate the nation’s ability to maintain sustainable coastal systems.

My involvement with Coastal SEES will allow me to broaden my interdisciplinary understanding by participating in the peer review panels and by conducting background research to help the program. I will also gain exposure to policy though my involvement in the National Ocean Policy Ecosystem-based Management interagency taskforce.”

Meanwhile, Will is working in NOAA’s Office of Program Planning and Integration, “which helps to coordinate activities across NOAA to ensure that the organization is using its resources effectively to meet NOAA’s mission and the nation’s needs. Specifically, I work on NOAA’s Regional Collaboration Network. The Network was formed to improve communication, coordination, and collaboration across NOAA’s programmatic line offices (Weather Service, Fisheries, Satellite and Information Service, Ocean Service, and Oceanic and Atmospheric Research). This is critical for issues that transcend traditional line office boundaries, such as providing stewardship for aquatic habitat or integrating NOAA’s emergency and disaster response capabilities. The network also provides a direct conduit between NOAA leadership and NOAA’s regional partners and stakeholders, allowing the administration to respond more rapidly and effectively to local issues and concerns. Recent examples of network activities include helping the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to provide training on climate adaptation planning to 104 cities, and helping to prioritize and coordinate efforts in Alaska to manage tsunami debris.

Thus far in my fellowship, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects for PPI and the network. They include presenting NOAA leadership with the ongoing impact of federal sequestration on network activities, preparing proposals to improve the efficiency in oversight for network travel needs, and helping the network to develop documents that effectively convey to headquarters the key priorities, emerging issues, and network activities in each of the network’s eight regions. I am also participating in a NOAA-wide project to optimize the execution of NOAA’s corporate planning. These activities are improving my workplace skills, such as effective writing, project management, and facilitation, as well as helping me to learn about the diverse array of critical services that NOAA provides to communities across the nation.”

Stay tuned for future blog posts to learn more about how these IISG fellows progress in their new positions. To learn more about the fellowship program, visit the National Sea Grant College Program Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship website.

Skip to content