Translating Science to Management and Policy

Knauss Fellows Kevin Staples and Lauren Swaddell

Every year, graduate and professional school students travel to the Washington, D.C. area from around the country to learn more about ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resource management and policy. Since 1979, the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, administered by NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, has matched fellows with host offices in the executive and legislative branches of government for a year. NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program has been happy to host many Knauss fellows over the years.

Recently, we said farewell to 2018 Knauss fellow Kevin Staples. Sponsored by Maine Sea Grant, Kevin has a master’s degree in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. Over the past year, Kevin was a key member of the steering committee for the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, which provides a critical coordination role for U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef resources. The task force includes 12 federal agencies; seven U.S. states, territories, and commonwealths; and three freely associated states. The Department of Commerce, through NOAA, and the Department of the Interior are co-chairs of the task force. Kevin also worked on preparing a programmatic environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. This work will assess the environmental impacts of the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s conservation and restoration activities. Finally, Kevin worked with communications staff members on our popular Facebook page and Twitter feed.

As the Coral Reef Conservation Program sends Kevin on to his next adventure (in Juneau, Alaska!), we are fortunate to welcome our 2019 Knauss fellow, Lauren Swaddell. Lauren is the first fellow sponsored by Guam Sea Grant and has a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Guam. Lauren will continue Kevin’s work with the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and other tasks of interest. We’re excited to see what Lauren accomplishes over the next year!

For more information on the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, including how to apply for the 2020 fellowship, visit