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D.C. Keeps Knauss Fellow

Kelly Pennington

Although Kelly Pennington finished up her year as Minnesota Sea Grant’s 2010 Knauss Fellow, she remains in Washington, D.C., as a Federal employee of the Senate Commerce Committee.

As a Sea Grant Fellow, Pennington worked with the U.S. Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee tackling jobs such as drafting and negotiating legislation, as well as meeting with stakeholder groups. She primarily worked for the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, the committee responsible for guiding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard. Pennington was especially busy helping the Committee track natural resource and economic issues stemming from Deepwater Horizon, the oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Knauss Fellowship also kept Pennington moving. She attended the Maine Fisherman’s Forum, and traveled to Rohde Island for a law symposium about the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. She was even sent overseas to France, where she attended a meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of the Atlantic Tunas.

Over the year spent as a Knauss Fellow, Pennington worked on a myriad of topics, including ocean acidification and Northeast fisheries. In an e-mail update from Pennington, she added that she “learned a lot about these and other issues and also how they fit into policy debates.” She finished by saying that the experience helped her gain a deeper understanding of Congress and the legislative process.

Pennington, who earned a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota, gave some advice to students considering applying for the Knauss Fellowship, telling them that this is a one-time opportunity that will pay off greatly assuming you put effort into it. The Knauss Fellowship gave Pennington a better understanding of Legislative process and professional business settings ... and evidently a foothold on Capitol Hill.

By Sea Grant Staff
June 2011

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