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Released November 01, 2004

SOUTHERN MISS STUDENT TO TAKE GCRL KNOWLEDGE TO WASHINGTON

OCEAN SPRINGS - Kirsten Larsen is taking her firsthand experience in fisheries research into marine policymaking at the national level.

A graduate student at The University of Southern Mississippi and research assistant at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Larsen has been awarded a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship for 2005. The fellowship program matches legislative and executive branch hosts in the Washington, D.C., area with outstanding graduate students interested in ocean and coastal resources and related national policy. The National Sea Grant College Program sponsors and manages the one-year paid fellowship.

In November, Larsen will join 30 or more Knauss Fellowship candidates from throughout the coastal United States in a round of visiting prospective host agencies and congressional offices. She will begin her appointment in February.

"Through her work at the laboratory, Kirsten has encountered the complexity of fisheries issues and can see both the state and federal perspectives," said Harriet Perry, director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at the GCRL. Perry is also Larsen's supervisor since she joined the laboratory technical staff in 1996 and her faculty adviser in her graduate research program.

"She has a natural curiosity about the environment, and she is a problem solver," Perry said. "It doesn't take her long to assess a situation and respond appropriately."

Larsen holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and is completing her master's research at the Southern Miss lab. She plans to pursue a doctorate in fisheries science and eventually work with fisheries research and conservation.

"Because our research at the fisheries center is often in collaboration with and in support of management agencies, I have experienced and understand both the research and the management side of fisheries," Larsen said. "The Knauss Fellowship will give me the opportunity to better understand the priorities of national marine policymakers and how best to provide them with scientific information to help them make informed decisions that affect fisheries at the local and regional levels."

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The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is part of The University of Southern Mississippi College of Science and Technology.

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November 23, 2004 9:23 AM