Current and Recent Fellows

The following biographies of current and recent fellows provide examples of the breadth and scope of opportunities and experiences offered by WSG, National Sea Grant, and Coastal Management fellowships.

Hershman Fellows


Liliana Bastian

Lili BastianPreviously, Lili has worked on gender mainstreaming in international protected areas policy with the IUCN Global Gender Office. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to Sabah, Malaysia, where she developed environmental education programming for secondary students and worked in conservation law. Lili earned a Master of Marine Affairs (MMA) from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and she holds a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience and Geography from Texas A&M University. As a Hershman Fellow, Lili is managing the Washington Coastal Hazards Resilience Network; she is also working with Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program to develop climate change and sea level rise adaptation guidance.

Claire Dawson

Claire DawsonWhile originally from Toronto, Claire fell in love with the ocean during her time as an undergraduate student at Dalhousie University on Canada’s east coast. While there, Claire earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Co-op degree. Traveling in Asia and Europe, she became ever more engaged with the vibrancy of coastal communities. After settling into a Divemaster job in Thailand for a season, Claire decided she wanted to do more to protect the natural resources and areas in our oceans we as humans so heavily depend on for sustenance, climate regulation and, of course, natural beauty. This led her to pursue her Master of Marine and Environmental Affairs degree at the University of Washington. While there, Claire focused mainly on understanding food production in marine systems and the tradeoffs with environmental conservation. Her work analyzed aquaculture systems as a potential way to grow the world’s animal protein availability, particularly given the immense growth this sector has shown in developing countries predominantly in Asia. She hopes to continue to work in coastal communities in North America, and is committed to understanding how partnerships between the public sector, private sector and NGOs alike can drive sustainable growth and development for marine industries in Washington State, securing food and jobs well into the future. For her Hershman Fellowship, Claire is working with The Nature Conservancy, focusing on advancing habitat conservation and community resilience for Washington’s marine waters.

Forrest Howk

Forrest HowkForrest’s lifelong interest in climate change was formalized in high school, when he independently published a research project that investigated the shrinking ice season of his hometown on Lake Superior over 150 years. After earning an undergraduate degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Forrest worked as research assistant on avian projects in the U.S. Midwest, Central America, and Hawaii. Everywhere he worked, Forrest found evidence of the impacts of climate change as well as the desperate need for local adaptation. This led him to Seattle and the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance to learn more about how local policy decisions could be better informed by science. Now, as a Hershman Fellow working with the Makah Tribe, Forrest is pursuing his career goal of helping communities understand, mitigate and adapt to the localized impacts of climate change.

Natalie Sahli

Natali SahliNatalie is an Olympia native. Living near the Puget Sound for 27 years inspired her to pursue a career in the marine sciences. As a graduate student at the Evergreen State College, Natalie applied her interest in shellfisheries to a master’s thesis quantifying nutrient cycling between native macroalgae and cultivated manila clams in a Hood Canal estuary. Also during this time, Natalie served as a biotoxin intern for the Washington State Department of Health, monitoring toxic algae blooms. This internship sparked an interest in the link between marine science and public health. For her fellowship, Natalie now looks forward to returning to the Department of Health to assess the risk of Vibrio related illness from the state’s shellfish growing areas. Eventually, Natalie intends to return to academia to learn more about Washington State aquaculture and how to maintain sustainable industry practices in a changing environment.


Molly Bogeberg

Molly Bogeberg earned her master’s degree in Environmental Science in 2014 from Washington State University, Vancouver. She studied the habitat associations of an aquarium fish species, yellow tang, from shallow (3 m) to upper mesophotic depths (40 m) in West Hawaii. Molly was placed as a Hershman Fellow at The Nature Conservancy in Seattle to study marine policy and management along Washington’s Pacific coast. She worked to incorporate Habitat Risk Assessments into Shoreline Master Program updates to help coastal communities protect ecosystem services and fishery resources in the face of climate change. She worked on projects to minimize conflict between potential offshore renewable energy developments and fishing as well as learning about community quota banks to manage fisheries.

Katie Graziano

Katie Graziano earned a master’s degree in Marine and Environmental Affairs from University of Washington in 2014. While studying at UW, she joined as a researcher with the U.S. Coral Triangle Initiative Learning Project to investigate lessons learned from an international marine conservation and governance project. Her thesis explored the gender dimensions of climate change risk and adaptation in coastal fishing communities of the Philippines.

As a Hershman Fellow with the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) in Tacoma, Katie evaluated connections between recovery efforts and desired goals to improve the ecological health of Puget Sound. She worked with local experts to validate the linkages between actions and ecosystem outcomes that are described in the PSP’s Action Agenda. Her project helped to tell a comprehensive story of past recovery efforts in Puget Sound, and establish criteria to better link actions to positive outcomes in the future.

Laura Nelson

Laura recently graduated with a Masters of Marine Affairs from the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington where her thesis focused on an educational project with NOAA developing lesson plans for the Pacific National Marine Monuments. Prior to moving to Seattle for graduate school, Laura worked for the Sea Education Association and several other educational programs aboard tall ships, teaching oceanography and marine biology to students of all ages.

As a Hershman Fellow, Laura worked jointly with the Makah Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula and The Nature Conservancy in Seattle on a range of ocean policy issues. She primarily focused on a project dedicated to improving response capacity and minimizing the risk of oil spills in Puget Sound in the face of increasing vessel traffic.

Adi Hanein

Adi Hanein earned her Master’s degree in Marine and Environmental Affairs from the University of Washington in 2014. While at UW, she developed an online mapping survey to study tourism and recreation patterns in Hood Canal, Washington, and was a teaching assistant introductory biology and invertebrate ecology courses. She also worked with the Puget Sound Institute on developing human well-being indicators for the Hood Canal watershed by conducting a literature review of social and economic indicators in the Puget Sound and coordinating and facilitating stakeholder workshops.

As a Hershman Fellow at the Washington State Department of Health, Adi worked with the molluscan shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels, geoducks and others that have a hinged shell) biotoxin program. The program collects data on the different biotoxins, shellfish species, monitoring sites, and collection dates. A major focus of her fellowship was analyzing this data set, looking for county- and Puget Sound-wide trends, impacts from climate change, as well as a way to visualize the data for the public.

Jessica McGrath

Jessie earned a BS in Marine Biology and Political Science from the University of Oregon. She received her Master’s degree from University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, with both an international and U.S. focus in ecosystem-based management, stakeholder involvement, and climate adaptation. Her thesis evaluated Arctic Nations and their efforts in implementing Best Practices in Ecosystem-based Ocean Management (BePOMAR) in the Arctic region. She brought to her fellowship experience from her internship with the National Ocean Council within the Council on Environmental Quality and from Norway, where she spent time at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute researching Arctic ocean policy.

As a Hershman Fellow at the Washington State Department of Ecology, Jessie managed the Coastal Hazards Resilience Network (CHRN) for the state.


Hilary Frost-Browning

Hilary Browning earned her Master’s degree in Marine and Environmental Affairs from the University of Washington in 2013. Her thesis investigated the distribution patterns and habitat associations of rockfish in Puget Sound in the 1970s using archival data. As a Hershman Fellow at the Washington State Department of Health, Hilary developed a quantitative microbial risk assessment for the risk of vibriosis (food poisoning) from raw oyster consumption. She also helped the agency establish thresholds for new regulatory controls based upon statistical analyses of past trends in environmental conditions and illnesses.


Kara Cardinal

Kara CardinalKara Cardinal earned her master’s degree in 2012 from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. Her thesis focused on the commercial shellfish industry in Puget Sound in the context of Washington’s marine spatial planning efforts. While in school, she also conducted research for Washington Sea Grant on impacts of changing climate dynamics on the Pacific whiting fishery. In her life before graduate school, she spent time as a Marine Educator at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and as a Restoration Technician for the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group. As a 2012 Hershman Fellow placed at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Washington State, Kara played a major role in leading TNC’s involvement in the state’s marine spatial planning process and conducted extensive stakeholder outreach throughout the Washington coast. Soon after the fellowship ended, Kara was offered a position with TNC. She currently is TNC’s Marine Projects Manager, where she supports their marine program by leading communication and outreach efforts, managing grants and project funding, and building relationships throughout the marine field.

Libby Whiting

Libby earned her masters degree from the The School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington. Through her thesis work (titled “Community perceptions of tourism in Bien Unido, Bohol Island, Philippines”) she helped empower a community in the Phillipines to find their united voice and communicate with local government officials about establishing guidelines for tourism development. She worked with community leaders to develop a strategy for maximizing the community involvement and economic opportunity in development while incentivizing environmentally clean practices from investors and outside developers.

As a Hershman Fellow at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Libby worked on a collaborative project to map activities in Washington’s marine waters, create a vision for the future of Washington’s coast, and develop a plan to guide the development of future activities. She believes that helping communities find a voice and the right opportunity to express insights during a management process can bring much needed understanding and value to that process.

Laura Wigand Johnson

Laura Wigand JohnsonLaura Johnson earned a master’s degree in Marine and Environmental Affairs from the University of Washington in 2012 for her research on the spatial patterns of groundfish abundance along the Bering Sea outer continental margin. As a Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow in the Washington State Department of Health she helped research and develop a new management approach to reduce illnesses associated with the naturally occurring bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Her fellowship year was spent researching the associations between V. parahaemolyticus and environmental conditions, working with the Tribes and the commercial shellfish industry to develop a preventative approach to managing the risks of V. parahaemolyticus illnesses, and organizing a West Coast V. parahaemolyticus workshop. The resulting draft rule is currently available for public comment and the State Board of Health decided whether to adopt the new approach in 2015.

Knauss Fellows


Maggie Allen

Maggie recently received a master’s in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. She currently works as a social scientist for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, where she measures community impacts of the West Coast catch share fishery management program. She also assisted WSG’s Social Scientist Melissa Poe and NOAA to develop social indicators to measure human well-being in marine management. Before graduate school, she worked as an environmental educator, video producer and intern coordinator for a variety of ocean organizations. Born and raised in Florida, Maggie is passionate about environmental education and social justice. She is excited to be NOAA’s Education Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., and eventually hopes to lead a nonprofit that engages communities in ocean conservation.

Sarah Anderson

Sarah’s love of the environment stems from growing up along the Apple River in rural Wisconsin with the opportunity to continuously be outdoors either in the woods, on the river or in the river depending on the day’s adventure. She is finishing her Ph.D. from the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University, Pullman. Her study dissertation entails using archives of precipitation to study sources of atmospheric nitrogen deposition and how they changed over time. During her Ph.D. studies, Sarah had the opportunity to work as a science policy fellow at the U.S. Global Change Research Program in Washington, D.C., helping to develop a national system of climate change indicators. She looks forward to returning to the D.C. to serve as a Knauss Legislative Fellow in the office of Senator Gary C. Peters of Michigan for what is certain to be an interesting and historic year of political transitions.

Michael Harvey

Michael grew up in Seattle and has spent nearly his whole life in the Pacific Northwest. He recently graduated from the University of Washington School of Law, where he earned both his J.D. and a master’s degree in Sustainable International Development. In law school he focused his work and studies on international development and public interest environmental law. During this time he worked with the Wildlands Network, a Seattle-based wildlife conservation organization and Trustees for Alaska, a public interest law firm based in Anchorage. As a Knauss Fellow he will be working at the NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research office with the Policy, Planning and Evaluation division, doing corporate evaluation work for NOAA’s regional and international research laboratories. He hopes the fellowship will provide him with a fresh perspective on policy-making that he can bring to his future work as a practicing public interest environmental attorney.

Nicole Kanayurak

Nicole is from Utqaġvik (Barrow), Alaska, which is the northernmost place in the United States. Her interest in marine affairs derives from the strong relationship her community has with the Arctic Ocean, a relationship that entails venturing onto the sea ice for food and cultural security. Nicole earned a Masters of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington in 2016. Her research focused on polar bear co-management in Alaska. Nicole is currently the youth representative to the Inuit Circumpolar Council and participates in the Arctic Council Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment working group. As a Knauss Fellow, Nicole will be working with the National Marine Fisheries Services International Affairs Office as a foreign affairs fellow.

Thomas Neal McMillin

Neal first engaged with ocean policy through a Barksdale grant from the Honors College at the University of Mississippi. He traveled throughout coastal Scotland learning about the economic impacts of the emerging marine renewable energy sector. Neal expanded this research in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington. He compared leading tidal energy projects in Washington State and Scotland to learn how novel projects overcome barriers to development. At a professional development experience with the Center for Ocean Solutions in Pacific Grove, California, he recognized a passion for national ocean policy. Motivated by his experience as a Mississippian impacted by Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Neal is thrilled to be placed with the office of Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi as a 2017 Knauss Fellow.


Laura Deighan

Laura Deighan graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Master’s of Marine Affairs. Laura’s research focused on improving the sustainability of fisheries through the use of Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). Her past work includes an aquarist position at the Virginia Aquarium, and researching FIPs as an intern for FishWise. As a 2015 Knauss Fellow, Laura will work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation. She will provide project coordination and review for both the National Fish Passage Program (NFPP) and National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHP). She will also assist in working with Fish and Wildlife’s eight regions to develop regional and national lists of priority species.


Marissa Jones

Marissa JonesMarissa earned her master’s degree in 2013 from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences for her research on the genetics and ecology of juvenile steelhead trout. As a Knauss Fellow, she worked in NOAA’s Office of Education, supporting education efforts across the agency. A major focus of her fellowship was to work with the NOAA Education Council to complete the revised NOAA Education Strategic Plan. In 2015, Marissa was hired by the Office of Education to lead the strategic plan effort and help the NOAA education community report progress.

Megan Stachura

Megan StachuraMegan Stachura earned her Master’s degree in Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences from the University of Washington in 2013. For her thesis, Megan studied environmental drivers of synchrony in Northeast Pacific marine fish recruitment and North Pacific salmon abundance. During the Knauss Fellowship, Megan worked in the NOAA Fisheries, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, Domestic Fisheries Division. While at NOAA, she developed content to communicate information about U.S. marine fish species and their management on the FishWatch website. Megan also supported the implementation of a fish stock climate vulnerability assessment in the Northeast U.S. and researched factors important to the success of recreational fisheries management.



Rebecca Jablonski-Diehl

Rebecca Jablonski-Diehl earned a master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington Seattle in 2011. Her thesis, “Facing the future of the international whaling commission: addressing environmental threats through organizational learning” examined the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission as an environmental regime.

As Legislative Fellow in 2012, Rebecca was placed in the Office of Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam. While in the Congresswoman’s Office, Rebecca was responsible for all natural resource issues, including the Congresswoman’s work with the House Committee on Natural Resources. A major focus of her fellowship was working on legislation for the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act (H.R. 69), and the Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments (H.R. 71).


Ethan Lucas

Ethan earned a master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington’s School of Marine Affairs in 2010 for his research on community-based marine protected areas in the Philippines. He is presently employed at FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy based out of Santa Cruz, California.

During his time as a NOAA Knauss Fellow, Ethan identified satellite-derived data products that are capable of addressing existing issues that coral reef managers face in the field. Near-future and newly-operational NOAA/NESDIS/STAR satellite-derived data products were aligned with U.S. jurisdiction-level and national-level goals and objectives for coral reef management. The results identified and recommended satellite-derived data products for STAR funding and from which the greatest cross-jurisdictional benefit in addressing U.S. coral reef management goals and objectives would be provided. His project resulted in NOAA Tech Report 142 and an article in the Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium.

NOAA Coastal Management Fellows


Hilary Papendick

Hilary Papendick received master’s degrees in Public Administration and Environmental Science from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Her thesis, Preparing for Rising Tides: Coastal Hazard Risk Perceptions and Support for Sea Level Rise Adaptation in Washington, evaluated efforts to prepare for sea level rise among coastal managers and local government officials in coastal cities and counties throughout the state. Hilary was a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow at the California Coastal Commission from 2011-2013.

While a fellow, Hilary developed a Draft Sea Level Rise Guidance document for the Coastal Commission, in collaboration with a sea level working group. The guidance document provides recommendations for how to address sea level rise in the Coastal Commission’s planning and regulatory actions. In addition, Hilary served as an organizing partner for the California King Tides Project. She helped produce annual reports and conducted a variety of outreach and presentations with the Project team. After her fellowship, Hilary has continued to work at the Coastal Commission on sea level rise planning and adaptation projects.

Sea Grant/NOAA Fisheries Fellows


Charles Waters

Charles WatersCharles first became interested in salmon ecology, evolution and population dynamics while working at NOAA’s Little Port Walter Marine Research Station in Southeast Alaska as an Ernest F. Hollings Scholar. He is now studying these disciplines as a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Charles also assists the UW Chapter of Engineers Without Borders on a project that aims to increase production of a trout farm in a remote village in Guatemala. His fellowship project entails modeling the effects of inbreeding in salmon salmon hatcheries on the eco-evolutionary dynamics of supplemented wild populations. Following graduate school and his NOAA Fisheries fellowship, he would like to continue research on fisheries conservation and sustainable aquaculture.



Christine Stawitz

Christine Stawitz will earn her doctoral degree from the University of Washington in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management. She is broadly interested in building statistical models that incorporate the effects of ecosystem dynamics and human impacts on marine populations. Her doctoral research focuses on understanding how variability in growth rates of commercially valuable marine fish impacts overall population status and management decisions. She is currently conducting a simulation analysis to assess whether reproductive or growth variability is most responsible for changes in fish population productivity. She will then examine how fisheries stock assessment models handle these sources of variability and how different assumptions about fish growth rate impact management decisions.

Peter Kuriyama

Peter KuriyamaPeter Kuriyama received a B.A. in Biology from the College of Creative Studies and a minor in Japanese from the University of California Santa Barbara. His research is focused on the effects of catch shares in the West Coast groundfish fishery and identifying best practices for stock assessments with researchers at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Center for the Advancement of Population Assessment Methodology (CAPAM).

Jennifer Meredith

Jennifer Meredith previously earned a master’s in development economics from the University of San Francisco and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Washington. Her dissertation explores the impact of fishery management on the migration decisions of harvesters from remote communities. Using her NOAA Sea Grant Fellowship, she will conduct field research in rural Alaska and examine how changes in Bering Sea fisheries regulations and in fishery volatility have impacted residents’ migration patterns. In addition, she will be collecting survey data on variables such as social networks, access to credit, and other harvester characteristics to test the impact of various policies designed to curtail rural outmigration.


Cole Monnahan

Cole MonnahanCole Monnahan will earn his doctorate in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management from the University of Washington in winter of 2016 for his research on Bayesian methods in fisheries stock assessment. In 2013 he received his master’s degree for his research on the population trends of the endangered eastern North Pacific blue whale. Since then he has been using simulation testing to explore and learn about single species stock assessments. His research focuses on their statistical properties, in particular improving the efficiency of Bayesian algorithms and comparing inference to frequentist approaches. He also will work closely with scientists at the International Pacific Halibut Commission to analyze their commercial logbook data and help with the assessment. 



Jocelyn Lin

Jocelyn LinJocelyn Lin earned her Ph.D. in School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences from the University of Washington in 2012, completing her dissertation titled “Microevolution, local adaptation, and demography in wild populations of Pacific salmon.” During her fellowship, she worked with collaborators at the National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Washington to develop an eco-evolutionary model for investigating how gene flow (movement of breeding individuals) between fish populations might affect local adaptation and population viability. Model results indicated that gene flow can result in rapid evolution of populations away from optimum trait values, although strong stabilizing selection may moderate these evolutionary departures.

James Thorson

James ThorsonJim Thorson earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences, supervised by Andre Punt and with NMFS mentor Ian Stewart (then at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center). He developed and tested methods to account for aggregations encountered in some Pacific rockfishes (including canary rockfish) where fishery-independent sampling occasionally has found aberrantly large catches. This method continues to be used when analyzing data for managed rockfishes, including darkblotched rockfish, in the 2013 assessment.


WSG Science Communication Fellows

2017 Winter–Spring

Amy Brodbeck

Photo of Amy BrodbeckAmy is a Master’s student in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and is also working toward a Certificate in Climate Science at the University of Washington. Through her research, she is investigating how harmful algal blooms (e.g. red tides) affect coastal communities in order to assess factors that determine community resilience to such events.

Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, Amy spent the last five years engaging in environmental education and outreach. From her work as a whale-watch naturalist in Alaska and Hawaii and an interpretive park ranger in Glacier Bay National Park, she quickly realized the importance of effective communication to building a larger community of environmental stewards.

In the summer of 2016, while interning at the Prince William Sound Science Center in Cordova, Alaska, Amy expanded her science-communication tools beyond written articles and presentations to include video. As a Science Communications Fellow at WSG, she is developing branding for WSG videos and producing completed pieces to spark curiosity and increase public engagement with important marine issues. She’s also helping to develop WSG social media platforms and strategy.


Lauren Drakopulos

Lauren DrakopulosLauren is a doctoral student in Geography at the University of Washington, working on the use of science and technology in fisheries management. Her research looks at electronic video monitoring for bycatch reduction and asks what are the social, political and economic implications of digitizing fisheries science. As a Fellow in UW’s Public Scholarship Program, Lauren is also interested in the mechanisms scientists and research agencies use to communicate about environmental issues and interventions in the digital age.

Lauren’s work with Washington Sea Grant allowed her to further explore this arena through digital storytelling, social media and story-mapping. She wrote two articles for Sea Star newsletter: “To See a World in an Oyster’s Shell” and “Fish Kills and Vanishing Razor Clams Alarm the Quinault.” She also helped implement a summer campaign to promote the prevention of small oil spills with recreational boaters in Washington. As part of this project, she wrote guest blog posts for NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration. In addition, she wrote several articles for WSG’s newsletter, Sea Star:

2015-16 Autumn–Winter

Ann Hillier

Annie earned her master’s degree from the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs in spring 2016. A paper based on her thesis, “Narrative Style Influences Citation Frequency in Climate Change Science,” was published in the journal “PLOS ONE” in December 2016. In her research, Annie discovered that scientific papers written in a narrative style—that tell a story—may be more influential than ones written in dry, expository language.

During her fellowship, Annie wrote two very engaging stories for the summer 2016 issue of “Sea Star,” the Washington Sea Grant’s newsletter: “It’s Not Easy Seeing Green” (about our European green crab monitoring program) and “Saving Salmon From Roadway Runoff” (about how rain gardens can benefit salmon habitat). She also did media outreach about Sea Grant programs and events.

Prior to and following her fellowship, Annie worked at Washington Sea Grant in a variety of roles, including as a Communications and Information Analyst. She now works as a planner for the environmental consulting firm EA Engineering, Science and Technology. She also volunteers at Washington Sea Grant events, including our annual Orca Bowl.

2015 Winter–Spring

Liz Cooney

Liz CooneyLiz earned a BS in Marine Biology from the University of Oregon. She is currently working toward her Master’s degree in Environmental Science at Western Washington University’s (WWU) Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, Washington. Her thesis focuses on the interactions between photosynthetic dinoflagellates and their predators, and the way these relationships are affected by environmental stress. Liz’s qualifications for her fellowship stemmed from her experience as a scientific illustrator, a teaching assistant for undergraduate level biology, a facilitator of marine science outreach, and as the developer of a science communication graduate course she designed for herself and other students at WWU.

As a Science Communications Fellow, Liz assisted with Washington Sea Grant’s mission to keep communities all over Washington engaged and connected with marine science issues and education. Her duties included corresponding with media outlets regarding marine science-related events and writing for the WSG Sea Star newsletter.


Chelsea Kahn

Chelsea KahnChelsea holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological Oceanography from Rutgers University and received a Master’s Degree in Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington in June 2014, with a focus on science communication and climate change. Her thesis, “The climate of newspaper coverage: communication of climate change uncertainty in India,” discusses newspaper coverage of climate change throughout India and how that compares with scientific publications.

As a fellow, Chelsea worked closely with the Washington Sea Grant Communications Department, writing articles for the Washington Sea Grant’s quarterly newsletter, the Sea Star. As the writing fellow, she wrote both feature articles in the 2014 autumn edition, “For the Birds.” Chelsea now works as the Research and Information Analyst for WSG.

Margaret “Megsie” Siple

Megsie SipleMargaret (Megsie) Siple is currently a PhD student in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. She studies how fluctuations in forage fish (sardines, anchovy, herring, and others) affect predators and fisheries for those species. During her science writing fellowship, she worked with WSG to cover WSG-funded projects on salmon genomics, snow crab population assessment, and the impacts of ocean acidification on zooplankton communities. She was recently awarded a fellowship from the Puget Sound Anglers to study the effects of age truncation on Pacific herring in Puget Sound.



Laura Geggel

Laura GeggelLaura Geggel earned her master’s degree in journalism, with an advanced certificate in science writing, at New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP). During graduate school, she interned at The New York Times, Popular Science, and Scholastic, writing about diabetes, concussions, and cocoa tasters. After reporting on autism research for the Simons Foundation, Laura took a job at, where she covers animals and the environment. You can read her most recent work at