WSG News Blog

Seven recent graduates selected for the 2023-2024 WSG Hershman Fellowship

October 24, 2023

Congratulations to our new WSG Hershman Fellows!

We are pleased to announce that recent graduates Catalina Burch, Hannah King, Noah Linck, Katie Love, Ellie Mason, Andrea Richter-Sanchez and Hannah Tennent have been awarded the Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellowship for 2023–2024. This fellowship places highly motivated, qualified individuals with marine and coastal host offices throughout Washington, providing fellows with a unique perspective on building marine policy and allowing them to share their academic expertise with the host offices. 

This year’s host offices are The Nature Conservancy, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership, the Makah Tribe, Northwest Seaport Alliance and the Hoh Indian Tribe. The fellows began working in host offices in September.  

This year’s fellows are:

Catalina Burch

Person in canoeCatalina grew up in Florida, and harvesting seafood was a formative part of her upbringing. Her great-grandmother taught her to cast net for mullet and her dad taught her to dive for lobsters and dip net for shrimp. Most summers she visited family in Maine, where her grandfather taught her to jig for mackerel and bait lobster traps. This strong connection to place and locally sourced food led her to study small-scale commercial fisheries during her undergraduate degree in biology and art at Whitman College. After graduating, her focus shifted to connecting people to place through outdoor education and river restoration. She worked for Trout Unlimited in Oregon, leading crews in beaver dam and log jam construction projects. These stewardship efforts shaped her decision to return to graduate school; she recently received her master’s in marine affairs from the University of Washington. During this period, she contributed to projects including urban restoration for salmonid recovery, culvert removal prioritization and planning, and Gulf of Alaska groundfish food web dynamics. She seeks to advocate for communities threatened by climate change and hopes to mentor, uplift and empower others through her work. Catalina is excited to join The Nature Conservancy as a Hershman Fellow working on climate-adaptive tribal fisheries and aquaculture.

Hannah King

Person smiling in front of mountains at sunsetAfter graduating with bachelor’s degrees in biology and public health from Saint Louis University, Hannah relocated to the Pacific Northwest and began working in outdoor education and ecotourism. Her experiences working as a guide and naturalist on the waters of Washington state and Southeast Alaska cultivated her passion for marine ecosystems and deepened her desire to work toward sustainable solutions to pressing environmental issues. Hannah returned to school at the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs to gain the skills necessary to work in environmental policy. In graduate school, she collaborated with the Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources on a beaver recovery project on the Klamath River. She is particularly interested in how conservation and restoration work can promote equity and benefit disadvantaged communities. Hannah hopes to work on salmon recovery and ecosystem restoration in Washington state and she is excited to be beginning her career as a WSG Hershman Fellow with the WA Department of Natural Resources. 

Noah Linck

Person smiling with forest behindGrowing up in Minnesota, Noah developed an early affinity for “coastal” ecosystems through spending summers along the shores of Lake Superior. He received his bachelor’s degree in conservation biology from the University of Minnesota and spent the next few years working as a park ranger for the National Park Service. While working for Olympic National Park as a coastal biological technician, he fell in love with Washington state and the Salish Sea. While there, he noticed the large amount of plastic waste that littered the remote beaches. Interested in finding solutions, Noah decided to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. During school, he volunteered with the Seattle Aquarium, testing the biodegradability of plastic alternatives and researching how these new plastics break down if ingested by marine mammals. He also worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, researching how the federal government, states and local communities define and implement equitable decarbonization, seeking to bridge knowledge gaps and foster consensus. Noah is interested in human connections to coastal ecosystems as well as science communication and policy that prioritizes equitable environmental solutions to climate change. As a WSG Hershman Fellow, he is excited to be working with the Washington Department of Ecology on their shoreline planning and climate resiliency efforts. 

Katie Love

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Katie has always gravitated towards ocean and coastal ecosystems. Intrigued by the waters and mountains of the Pacific Northwest, she moved to Seattle in 2017. Katie earned her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in anthropology and geography and a minor in biological sciences. She then spent five years in the field of environmental education, where she learned the value of connecting people to places to advance conservation interests. Driven by the desire to directly impact environmental policy, Katie went on to receive her master’s from the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and a graduate certificate in climate science. She partnered with NOAA Fisheries for her capstone project, which used the power of storytelling to inspire connection to and hope for salmon recovery across the West Coast. As a WSG Hershman Fellow, Katie looks forward to continuing working at the intersection of science and policy with the Puget Sound Partnership.

Ellie Mason

Person smiling in front of treed landscapeEllie grew up on an island off the coast of Maine, where she spent nearly two decades exploring granite mountains, turning over rocks in the intertidal zone, and waiting each year for the return of the spring peepers. These moments led her to pursue a degree in environmental science and policy from Smith College before ultimately returning to Maine to work  as an Island Fellow for the Island Institute in Tenants Harbor. In this role, Ellie helped design and implement a K–5 afterschool program centered around outdoor education that brought about rich community connections, joyous canoe adventures to explore the islands of Penobscot Bay, and seasons of growth and change. She left Maine to pursue a graduate degree in marine and environmental affairs from the University of Washington, where her research focused on the adaptive capacity of the Maine lobster fishery. Her thesis helped to inform her interests in understanding the intersections between climate change, loss and the places we call home. She is a voracious reader of all things eco-philosophy and poetry and enjoys exploring the local landscapes through trail running. As a WSG Hershman Fellow, Ellie will be working for the Makah Tribe on projects centering climate resiliency and planning through which she hopes to continue learning about community-led climate action and connection to place. 

Andrea Richter-Sanchez

Person smiling with flower in hairGrowing up in South Florida and being from Venezuela, Andrea has always felt a personal connection and passion for the ocean. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science with an applied mathematics minor from Florida State University. She then worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an environmental specialist, where Andrea firsthand saw the impacts of climate change and the communities affected. This led her to pursue her master’s in marine affairs at the University of Washington, because she wanted to study interdisciplinary approaches towards tackling marine science issues relating to climate change. She completed a capstone project with the Surfrider Foundation that focused on assessing the coastal and climate policies of the 31 states that follow the Coastal Zone Management Act. Andrea did a one-year research assistantship that focused on assessing bull kelp’s carbon sequestration ability and did a spatial analysis on its distribution in Puget Sound based on some environmental factors. Andrea is passionate about working on marine issues surrounding climate change, environmental justice and science communication. She is ecstatic to have been matched with the Northwest Port Authority as a WSG Hershman Fellow, where she will work on policy for the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma to lower greenhouse gas emissions, implement clean energy, and increase environmental justice efforts with local communities.

Hannah Tennent 

Person smilingHannah grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and received her undergraduate degree in earth and oceanographic science from Bowdoin College. Initially interested in facilitating inclusive outdoor experiences for others, Hannah worked on trail crews and taught environmental education across the United States for several years. Eventually, she decided she wanted a career in natural resource management and climate change mitigation with a focus on environmental justice. This led Hannah to the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, where she worked with NOAA on a capstone project to understand community preferences for and values around the Duwamish River in Seattle. Additionally, she worked as a teaching assistant and supported the eDNA Collaborative’s efforts to construct an equitable grant distribution system. As a WSG Hershman Fellow, Hannah is very excited to work for the Hoh Tribe and support their climate change resiliency work.  She hopes to continue learning about climate change mitigation, local adaptation efforts and building community power. 

Congratulations, fellows! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish.


Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Join the conversation: @WASeaGrant and