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Minnesotan Awarded Knauss Fellowship

The National Sea Grant College Program awarded the prestigious Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship to Jonathan Pundsack, a graduate student in water resources science at the University of Minnesota Duluth. This fellowship, named after a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) director, allows Pundsack to spend the next year working with NOAA’s Office of Global Programs in Silver Spring, MD.

“I recommended Jonathan for this competitive position without hesitation,” said Carl Richards, director of Minnesota Sea Grant. “His personality and interest in combining policy and research in the field of public health are ideally suited to the Knauss Fellowship. I am pleased he received the award.” Minnesota Sea Grant is helping to support Pundsack during his fellowship.

Each year, NOAA offers about 30 Knauss Fellowships. This program was established in 1979 to provide an educational experience to students interested in marine or Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The program matches graduate students with hosts in the legislative branch, executive branch, or appropriate associations located in the Washington, D.C. area for one year.

Jonathan Pundsack.

Jonathan Pundsack. Photo courtesy of the Natural Resources Research Institute

“One of my graduate advisors brought this fellowship to my attention and it immediately caught my interest,” Pundsack said. “There are few programs or organizations, aside from Sea Grant, that have developed such successful and rewarding partnerships between industry, academia, and government.”

Pundsack investigated the ability of alternative wastewater treatment systems to remove pathogens while studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth under the guidance of Sea Grant researchers Rich Axler of the Natural Resources Research Institute and Randall Hicks of the Department of Biology.

Pundsack will move to Washington, D.C. and begin studying the socio-economic effects of seasonal climate change in February. During his year at the Office of Global Programs, he will examine the broad-scale impacts of climate on such things as precipitation, disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and agriculture.

“Probably one of the most exciting aspects of the fellowship is the opportunity for me to integrate my scientific training with public policy,” said Pundsack. Pundsack was impressed that roughly half of the 400 former Knauss Fellows still work on water-related issues from or near Washington, D.C. (for example, see “Where Are They Now?”).

By Sea Grant Staff
February 2000

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