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Knauss Fellow Finalist

July 11, 2017

Because South Dakota does not have a Sea Grant program, student kept an eye out for Minnesota competition announcement.

Minnesota Sea Grant announced that Jillian K. Farkas will participate in the prestigious John A. Knauss Policy Fellowship from the National Sea Grant College Program to spend 2018 working on Great Lakes, ocean and coastal policy issues in Washington, D.C.

The National Sea Grant College Program, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a network of 33 Sea Grant programs located in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, Lake Champlain and Guam.

Farkas is currently completing a Master of Science in biology at the University of South Dakota where her research focuses on the effects of agricultural runoff on fish in the Prairie Pothole Region of South Dakota. She applied for the Knauss Fellowship through Minnesota Sea Grant, which administers the Fellowship program locally and nominates candidates for consideration by the National Sea Grant College Program.

“I believe that the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship will provide me with insight on how policies are built from the ground up and how that policy is communicated and implemented by different constituent groups,” said Farkas. “I want to connect science to diverse audiences.”

Farkas is currently working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve the Oregon spotted frog by bringing diverse partners together to understand each group’s resource priorities and to develop land management guidelines for landowners. Her previous research included investigating predator presence on life history strategies of sunfish, the effect of predation on life history strategies of eastern bluebirds, and the effect of ethanol intoxication on predator escape behavior in the blue morpho butterfly. She also worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on their wildlife action plan revision team.

“Jillian’s early career trajectory has effectively combined environmental research and policy experience at the state level,” said Minnesota Sea Grant Director John A. Downing. “She is driven, hard-working, intelligent, well-educated, a great communicator, has extraordinary people skills and a deep dedication to building a career at the interface of science and policy.”

Because South Dakota does not have a Sea Grant program, Farkas kept an eye out for the competition announcement in Minnesota.

“When I visited the Minnesota Sea Grant Office I found it filled with passionate educators and communicators who integrate policy with actions that connect and engage stakeholders to sustain aquatic resources - exactly what I want to do,” said Farkas.

The Knauss Fellowship places highly qualified graduate students in “host” offices in the legislative and executive branches of the United States government for one year.

“Being involved with state government processes and witnessing how collaborations and understanding of policies help Great Lakes and natural resource management made me want to become further engaged with the creation of effective scientific policy at a federal level,” said Farkas.

Farkas is one of 67 finalists from 128 applicants considered by the National Sea Grant office from 31 Sea Grant programs across the nation. Finalists will learn about the legislative and executive placement opportunities this month and meet in Washington in November, 2017 for placement interviews and to become official Fellows.

“I’m excited to be able to engage with more state, federal, tribal and nongovernmental groups and have opportunities to bridge the gaps among science and management and policy,” said Farkas.

MORE INFORMATION

National Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship and Where Are They Now - Minnesota Sea Grant’s former Knauss Fellows: http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/projects/knauss

Minnesota Sea Grant’s mission is to facilitate interaction among the public and scientists to enhance communities, the environment and economies along Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland waters by identifying information needs, fostering research and communicating results.

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