Alyssa Hausman, a master’s student in environmental science at Indiana University, shares her experiences as a Knauss Fellow at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
I have had great experiences working with the Knauss fellows in the past, so when I started graduate school in 2012, I knew that this fellowship was an opportunity that I couldn’t afford to not pursue.
After an extensive application process, I found out last June that I was a finalist for the 2015 fellowship class as an executive fellow. As one of 40 executive fellows, I had a wide-range of offices and positions that I could potentially be placed in. Executive fellows placements span a range of departments: Commerce, Interior, Navy, Energy, and independent agencies such as the EPA and National Science Foundation.
After a daunting placement week, complete with 15 back-to-back interviews, I was placed with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — an agency dedicated to conserving fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats. My fellowship with the Service’s Division of Congressional and Legislative Affairs provides me the opportunity to engage the legislative branch on important wildlife issues, and even work alongside Knauss fellows in the legislative branch. My work so far has focused on the Endangered Species Act, coastal resources, and wildlife, and sport fish restoration.
Throughout the course of the fellowship, I have been able to visit various Service assets, including Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Repository. I recently spent a month in the Service’s regional office outside of Denver, Colo., which included a short trip to view conservation efforts in the Dakotas. These opportunities have taught me so much about the Service’s efforts on important issues that I do not work on directly, such as invasive species control, wildlife trafficking, and habitat conversion.
The National Wildlife Repository is responsible for receiving wildlife items that have been forfeited or abandoned to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Now that I am half-way through my fellowship year and the next cohort of fellows has been selected, it is time for me to consider my next steps seriously. I have greatly enjoyed my time so far working with the Service and hope that I will have the opportunity to continue working with the agency, whether it be within the agency or outside as a partner.
Regardless of where I end up in February, I am looking forward to being a part of the Knauss alumni network and maintaining the personal and professional relationships that I’ve developed with my peers in the fellowship.
The two IISG-sponsored Knauss Fellows selected for 2015 recently returned from D.C., where they met with other fellows, interviewed with government agencies and offices, and learned where they will spend the next year working on water resource and environmental issues. Alyssa Hausman, a Master’s student at Indiana University, shares her experiences.
Placement week was one of the most unique and exciting experiences that I have gone through, but I am so glad that I will never have to do it again. My week consisted of 15 interviews for 16 positions and concluded with my placement for the next year. In the process, I managed to meet 51 fantastic and brilliant people that I will get to share this next year and fellowship experience with. I also learned more about the various executive offices involved in marine policy than I thought possible in such a short time.
I was placed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Congressional and Legislative Affairs. This coming year, I will serve as a liaison with the offices of congressional members and committees. Though the portfolio of issues I will be working on will not be determined until I start this position, the current fellow is assigned to issues regarding endangered species, coastal and marine resources, and fisheries. This position will expand my knowledge of natural resource management and the legislative process.
I have had the opportunity to work with Knauss fellows in the past and admired their commitment to the stewardship of marine environments and the opportunities that the fellowship provided them. This past summer, for example, I interned with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, where I realized just how extensive and strong the Knauss network is. The office has two current fellows and a handful of alumni, all of whom welcomed me into the “mafia” when I received my acceptance in June. Seeing how connected these alumni remain to the program and how supportive they are of incoming fellows makes me excited and proud to be a part of this network. These experiences collaborating with past fellows are what drove me to the Knauss fellowship, and I am honored that I will be joining their ranks in February.
In two short weeks, I will be graduating from Indiana University’s School of Public of Environmental Affairs with dual Master’s degrees in environmental science and public affairs. I am very much looking forward to beginning my fellowship and my post-graduate career—after a much needed month off, of course.