Michigan Sea Grant is pleased to introduce Bailey McCarthy Riley as one of the finalists for the 2022 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The one-year fellowship places early career professionals in federal government offices in Washington, D.C, to work on issues related to Great Lakes and marine science and policy.

Bailey is a Ph.D. candidate studying analytical chemistry at Wayne State University. “Growing up in Michigan has given me an understanding of the importance of policy in protecting our freshwater coastal resources,” she says. “Living alongside an inland lake in a rural community, many of the issues that the Great Lakes experience were mirrored in my environment, including invasive species and algal blooms due to upstream fertilization.”

As an undergraduate student, Bailey grew her understanding of Great Lakes environmental challenges through a research position focused on water quality in Saginaw Bay. She has since supplemented her scientific skills with experience in the policy sphere, participating in policy training courses and internships that will prove especially valuable during her Knauss fellowship.

Michigan Sea Grant was proud to recommend Bailey’s application for consideration in the Knauss program. Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes comprehensive review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. This fall, Bailey and the other 2022 finalists will participate in a virtual placement week to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2022.

The 74 finalists in the 2022 class represent 28 of the 34 Sea Grant programs. Since 1979, almost 1,500 fellows have completed the program, becoming leaders in science, policy, and public administration roles.

This year’s class comprises students and recent graduates from 51 distinct universities, including 11 minority-serving institutions. The finalists completed coursework and research in a range of fields, such as agronomy, anthropology, ecology, environmental policy and law, fisheries, geology, marine and coastal sciences, several disciplines of oceanography, tourism management, and urban and regional planning.

Beyond completing rigorous academic programs, the 2022 finalists come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. The finalists include first-generation college graduates, former service members, and leaders in diversity and inclusion initiatives. They supported their communities as educators, mentors, and volunteers; worked in international, national, and state political offices; and engaged with scientific research at NOAA and other federal agencies.

Furthermore, finalists are science communicators and artists who demonstrated their skills and desire to translate research to broad applications. This year’s class also includes an ultimate frisbee coach, a pilot, an ocean historian, a beekeeper, a slam poet, an ice hockey captain, a wood-block carver, and a blackbelt in taekwondo.

“At both the state and national levels, Sea Grant’s active recruitment and student engagement efforts supported one of the most robust applicant pools in fellowship history,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., National Sea Grant College Program director. “I have no doubt that the finalists’ diverse perspectives will provide great insight towards addressing critical marine policy and science challenges. We look forward to welcoming the 2022 class of Knauss fellows.”

Executive appointments for the 2021 Knauss fellows included placements throughout the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as with the Department of Energy, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Science Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies. Legislative placements included the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Majority), the House Committee on Natural Resources (Majority), the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Majority and Minority), and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

Current Knauss fellow So-Jung Youn has written about her experience at the NOAA National Ocean Service on Michigan Sea Grant’s fellowship blog. Read about her fellowship year.

Want to learn more about the Knauss Fellowship? Visit the fellowship page on our website.