International experience, idealism shape R.I. Sea Grant Knauss Fellows

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Rhode Island Sea Grant is sending two University of Rhode Island graduate students to Washington, D.C., for one-year, $44,000 fellowships to work in the federal government on marine and coastal issues starting February 1, 2010. Jacqueline Kemp Haskell and Long Zhou join over 40 fellows from around the nation who have garnered National Sea Grant College Program Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships for 2010.

Haskell will be working in the National Sea Grant Office as the coordinator for natural resource focus areas. Zhou will work in the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation in NOAA Research.

Haskell, who recently received her Master of Science degree in environmental and natural resource economics, began her thesis research on demand for public goods as an undergraduate and continued her research throughout her graduate work. She has seen the importance of marine and coastal resources as an undergraduate research fellow in an aquatic pathology laboratory and a docent at the New York Aquarium. She also brings a diverse set of experiences to the fellowship, having served as an orphanage volunteer in Nicaragua during a week-long mission trip, a rebuilding volunteer in post-Katrina New Orleans, and a public finance intern at Standard & Poor’s in New York City. Haskell received the President’s Award for Student Excellence as an undergraduate at URI in 2007.

Haskell says that her career goal is to use economic analysis and insight to inform environmental policy decisions. “As a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow,” she says, “I hope to better understand federal agencies’ role in policy processes and to apply what I have learned in academic settings to real policy decisions.”

Zhou is a candidate for both a Ph.D. in physical oceanography and a master’s degree in marine affairs. A native of China, he entered China’s Ocean University at age 16 and from there came to the Graduate School of Oceanography to pursue his doctorate. He later enrolled in marine affairs because he wanted to “apply science to more practical work that can address important societal problems.” Zhou is currently using a complex model to analyze physical, economic, and ecological data to better understand coastal development in Xiamen, China, and Batangas Bay, Philippines, for the URI Coastal Resources Center. He has received several academic awards in the United States and China. He has also studied and written about European experiences in planning offshore wind farms for the R.I. Ocean Special Area Management Plan.

As a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow, Zhou hopes to add project management skills to his scientific and academic credentials. As someone “passionate about the ocean,” Zhou says that regarding the Earth and its resources, “everything is limited and inherited. Development and conservation better be dynamically balanced.”

The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship, established in 1979, matches highly qualified graduate students interested in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources in the national policy decisions affecting those resources with hosts in the federal legislative or executive branches of government.

For more information or to see the call for 2011 Knauss Fellows, visit