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New Orleans Native Named Knauss Finalist

Photo: Hollis Jones

Hollis Jones
2019 Knauss Fellowship Finalist

Hollis Jones has been named a 2019 Knauss Fellowship finalist. The New Orleans native was nominated for the fellowship by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.

“The Knauss fellowship is one of Sea Grant’s flagship programs. Every class of Knauss fellows continues to raise the bar, and the 2019 finalists are no exception,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College Program.

Jones is working on a Master of Science degree in systematics, ecology and evolution at Louisiana State University, Department of Biological Sciences. Her anticipated graduation date is December 2018. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

Jones said she became interested in a career in coastal ecology and management since her experiences with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She and her mother had to evacuate the city for ten months due to the storm and storm recovery.

“In the months that followed, we scoured Google Maps, simply to see if our house still stood,” said Jones. “When we finally returned home, I saw how easily entire ecosystems can be disrupted and destroyed by natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina left a legacy of destruction in its wake, but watching my city recover from the devastation gave me an intimate perspective on the issues associated with living in a coastal environment and compelled me to pursue a career in coastal ecology and management.

“Research, communication and education are critical to facilitate resiliency in the Gulf of Mexico,” added Jones. “But without effective policy, they have little chance of affecting substantial change.” The Knauss Fellowship, in her words, is the logical next step in her career implementing conservation and restoration initiatives.

Sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, the John A. Knauss Fellowship matches graduate students with an interest in ocean and coastal resources and national policy affecting those resources with hosts in federal legislative or executive branch offices for one year. In November, 69 finalists from across the country will travel to Washington, D.C., to determine in which offices they will work. Fellowships will begin Feb. 1, 2019.

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant ( has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at LSU, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 33 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.