Brendan Newell receives 2016 Knauss Fellowship

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University of New Hampshire alumnus Brendan Newell ‘15 has been awarded a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship for 2016. Sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, the year-long fellowship matches current and recent graduate students with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of government.

Beginning in February 2016, Newell will spend one year in Silver Spring, MD. working with the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Office of Protected Resources. Newell will have the opportunity to work with the Endangered Species Listing Program which decides if certain marine species should be listed as endangered or threatened and what actions need to be taken to help protected species recover.

Newell, who is originally from Haddon Township, N.J., received his undergraduate degree in marine sciences from Rutgers University in N.J. He recently completed his M.S. in the UNH Training for the Integration of Decisions and Ecosystems Science (TIDES) Program with advisors Mimi Becker, associate professor of natural resources and environmental policy, and David Burdick, research associate professor of coastal ecology and restoration. His research focused on integrated coastal ecosystem science, policy and management.  

“As a kid, I was always interested in marine science,” Newell said. “After graduating from Rutgers, I worked in the natural resource management field, including as a fisheries observer on commercial fishing boats in Alaska. I realized I had a growing interest in how natural resource management decisions are made and how science fit into this decision-making process,” he explained.

Newell said the Knauss Fellowship will allow him to gain hands-on experience working with U.S. environmental policy.

“I’m very interested in preserving biodiversity and the Endangered Species Act is one of the most powerful tools available to accomplish this,” he said. “I’ll be working with a small group of people who put a lot of thought into making the right decisions about protecting species, and those decisions often have consequences beyond the species of concern,” he added.

Newell also hopes the fellowship will allow him to better understand how the federal government works and how decisions made in Washington, D.C. affect conservation, research funding and environmental challenges like climate change.

“I’m really interested in conservation, the interaction between people and the environment, and how climate change could impact coastal communities and ecosystems,” he said. “I expect to continue to pursue those topics throughout my career.”

The Knauss Fellowship Program is named in honor of John A. Knauss, a former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a founder of the Sea Grant program. Sea Grant is a national network of more than 30 programs that provide support, leadership and expertise for university-based marine research, extension and education.

N.H. Sea Grant promotes the wise use, conservation and sustainable development of marine and coastal resources in the state, the region and beyond. Located at the University of New Hampshire, NHSG is part of a national network of programs located in our coastal and Great Lakes states as well as in Puerto Rico and Guam.