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USM Graduate Student Selected for Prestigious Fellowship in Washington D.C.

Wed, 08/07/2019 - 10:24am | By: Van Arnold

Leanne PoussardUniversity of Southern Mississippi graduate student Leanne Poussard has been chosen to work on marine policy in Washington D.C. this fall as the recipient of a 2020 Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Poussard has spent the past year conducting research at USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory as part of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. She will join 69 other fellowship finalists from across the country to interview with potential host agencies and offices in the legislative and executive branches of government.

The interviews will determine where the finalists will be placed during their fellowship year, which begins in February, 2020. As Sea Grant Knauss Fellows, they will actively transfer science to policy and management through their appointments with federal government offices.

While working on her master's degree, Poussard is using mathematical modeling to measure efficiency of National Marine Fisheries Service shellfish survey gear.

“I’m really excited to work as a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow. It’s an incredible opportunity to work at the interface of marine science and policy,” said Poussard. “I am glad to contribute to NOAA’s mission to protect and increase our knowledge and understanding of the ocean, atmosphere, and coastal environments around the world.”

Poussard, a native of Fairfax, Va., earned her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Virginia.

Since 1979, the National Sea Grant College Program has provided Knauss Fellowships to more than 1,300 early-career professionals. There are 69 finalists in the 2020 class. They will become the 41st class of the fellowship.

Knauss finalists are selected through a competitive process that includes several rounds of review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students finishing master's, Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine science, policy or management apply through a Sea Grant program. If applicants are successful at the state program level, a national panel of experts reviews their applications.