Jesse Ross on a boat

New Hampshire Sea Grant is pleased to announce that Jesse Ross, who received his master’s degree this fall from the University of New Hampshire’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been selected as part of the 2020 class of the National Sea Grant College Program’s prestigious John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Jesse began his year-long placement in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for the Environment on Monday, February 3, 2020 as a Policy Liaison. He’ll be working with senior leadership on a broad range of issues, such as protecting natural resources and marine species, preventing and mitigating ocean pollution, and advancing environmental technology, conservation, and strategic communication.

The Knauss Fellowship, now in its 40th year, honors John A. Knauss, a founder of the National Sea Grant College Program, who formerly served as a NOAA administrator and dean of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Since 1979, over 1,350 early-career professionals have participated in this year-long paid fellowship that matches highly qualified graduate students with host offices in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. Fellows work on national policy issues affecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources.

Jesse, who completed both his undergraduate and master’s degrees at UNH, was involved in the Coastal Response Research Center led by Professor Nancy Kinner. His graduate thesis, which was co-advised by Kai Ziervogel, research assistant professor and director of UNH's Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory, focused on the fate and transport of oil, and Jesse will continue working with similar topics at the Naval office. 

“I'll be working with the Secretary of the Navy's Environment office to address a wide range of topics, from environmental assessments related to Navy’s training activities on land or at sea, to meeting with state and federal agencies to move restoration projects forward. I hope to contribute to the team’s efforts on addressing water quality concerns through the experience I gained during my graduate work at UNH,” Jesse said about his position. 

Jesse taking samples on a boat

Building off and branching out from his experience in engineering and research science, Jesse is looking forward to diving into policy work during his Knauss fellowship. In the Coastal Response Research Center, Jesse contributed to projects that informed policy decisions, but now he’ll be taking a much more in-depth role in the process. “My previous exposure to producing science to inform regulations really got me hooked on exploring different and higher levels of policy,” Jesse stated.

Jesse’s Knauss placement in the U.S. Navy’s Environment office means that he’ll serve as an integral part of an important team. “The exciting thing to me is the opportunity to join a team that works directly with the White House and Congress, as well as other federal agencies like NOAA and the EPA, to move policy forward.”

Check back soon to hear more about Jesse’s experiences on his Knauss fellowship!

Learn more about the Knauss fellowship here.
Applications for the 2021 Knauss class are due February 21, 2020.

Photos thanks to Lynda Giguere/Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council.