R.I. Knauss Fellows bring education, experience, idealism to Washington, D.C.

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NARRAGANSETT— January 28, 2009 — Rhode Island Sea Grant is sending two graduate students to Washington, D.C., for one-year $43,500, National Sea Grant College Program Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships. Kate Mulvaney and Nicholas Battista will begin working in the federal government on marine and coastal issues starting February 1, 2009.

Mulvaney, who is working towards a master’s degree in marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island, is a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer who taught and developed a coastal resources management program at Partido State University in the Philippines.

Teaching at the university was rewarding, Mulvaney says. When she arrived, armed only with an undergraduate degree in marine biology, some of her students were older than she was. Now many of them have gone on to work in different agencies.

“It’s pretty amazing to see what they’ve become and to see the decisions they’ve helped people make,” she says.

A cum laude graduate of Roger Williams University, Mulvaney studied abroad in Mexico, Belize, Jamaica, the Azores, Rome, and China. Mulvaney says her international experience has shown her that there is a worldwide need for more education about resource management. As a Knauss Fellow, she will be working in the State Department’s Office of Marine Conservation.

Battista received his master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island and his Juris Doctor degree from the Roger Williams School of Law, finishing in the top ten percent of his class in the honors program. Battista also did his undergraduate work in philosophy and science, technology, and society at Colby College in Maine. He has had internships at the Conservation Law Foundation, Save the Bay, and the Rhode Island District Court.

Battista, who grew up in coastal Maine, says he is interested in marine renewable energy and working waterfront issues. While his background is in law, Battista says he is also interested in communicating environmental issues. “The problems we’re facing can’t be solved just with environmental regulations.”

As a Knauss Fellow, Battista will be working in the office of Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine.

The 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.