WSG News Blog

2019 Knauss Fellows Placed in Executive and Legislative Offices in Washington, D.C.

December 10, 2018

Five University of Washington (UW) graduates have been selected for the 2019 class of the National Sea Grant College Program’s prestigious John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship to study, develop and implement policies that address ocean and coastal management issues. The one-year fellowship pairs motivated, forward-thinking graduates with legislative and executive host offices in Washington, D.C.

The Knauss Fellowship honors the influential legacy of the late John A. Knauss, who was an internationally-renowned oceanographer and meteorologist. His work was instrumental in the founding of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he served as director from 1989-1993. Knauss also founded the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, helped establish the first marine affairs degree program in the country and played a key role in creating the National Sea Grant College Program.

Since the inception of the Knauss Fellowship in 1979, over 1,100 alumni have gone on to shape U.S. marine policy through influential careers in federal agencies, the U.S. Congress and elsewhere.

Washington State’s 2019 Knauss Fellows include:

Roxanne Carini (UW Civil and Environmental Engineering) will be a fellow with the Marine Mammal Commission.

 Carini’s doctoral dissertation focused on the physics of breaking waves to understand how these forces change coastal environments, using infrared cameras to quantify both individual wave characteristics and large-scale patterns of wave breaking. As a Knauss Fellow, she will dig in on two specific issues: anticipating the needs of marine transportation in the Arctic and working to integrate new science and technology onto ships for monitoring the ocean and atmosphere.

Michelle Chow (UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences) will be a fellow in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.

Born and raised in California, Chow is passionate about promoting environmental justice through access to clean water and coastal resources. Chow recently received a master’s degree in aquatic and fishery sciences studying nonpoint source pollution around Puget Sound. In collaboration with the Puget Sound Stormwater Science Team, her graduate research explored the consequences of stormwater runoff pollution on Pacific salmon and their prey species.

Valerie Cleland (UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs) will be a fellow in the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

While in graduate school, Cleland focused on emerging Arctic issues as well as changes in crude oil shipping and changes in oil spill risk. She earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science and international relations from Tufts University after spending two years on the Welsh Coast at United World College of the Atlantic, and has worked as an environmental consultant and outdoor educator for the past three years.

Molly Grear (UW Civil and Environmental Engineering) will be a fellow in the National Science Foundation Ocean Sciences Division.

 Grear’s doctoral research bridged biology and engineering to better understand the impacts of marine renewable energy by describing and modeling the structural mechanics of marine mammal skin and blubber to evaluate the risk of these animals colliding with tidal turbines. Since 2012, she has also worked for the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), with projects in coastal modeling, wave energy and offshore wind energy.

Ben Hughey (UW Evans school of Public Policy) will be a fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

Hughey received a Master of Public Administration, specializing in environmental policy. Over the past six years, he has advanced policy and GIS efforts at the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, an environmental non-profit pursuing the balance of people and nature in the Puget Sound region. Hughey’s affinity for the marine environment stems from explorations of the coastlines of Baranof Island around his hometown of Sitka, Alaska.


To find out more about this fellowship and the students behind it, contact Deborah Purce at 206–616–5718 or