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Louisiana Knauss Finalists Named

The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program has three Knauss Fellowship finalists for 2021. They are Kenneth Erickson, Mary Grace Lemon and Caleb Taylor, all Louisiana State University (LSU) graduate students.

The John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, is a unique professional development opportunity for students with an interest in combining national policy with ocean and coastal resource management. The program matches graduate students with hosts in federal legislative or executive branch offices in Washington, D.C. for one year – beginning Feb. 1, 2021. Students contribute their expertise while gaining insight into how science can inform the policy making process. This year’s students are featured below:

Photo: Kenneth Erickson

Kenneth Erickson
LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Science

Erickson developed his policy experience while serving in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for North Carolina. Many of the skills he honed during that internship have helped shape his subsequent work in fisheries management. Erickson was a NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholar where he worked with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center’s Stock Assessment Branch. Previously, he had analyzed public comments on the Atlantic cobia fishery for a regional fishery management plan. After graduating from North Carolina State University, he came to LSU for his master’s degree where his research on the southern flounder fishery has revealed a range-wide decline in the species. He hopes to continue working in fisheries management and bridge the interests of legislators, agencies and stakeholders to create sustainable coastal policy.

Photo: Mary Grace LemonMary Grace Lemon
LSU Department of Renewable Natural Resources

Lemon’s northern Gulf Coast upbringing introduced her to coastal ecosystems and issues early in her life. Flooding from Hurricane Rita changed her perspective about the vulnerability of coastal areas. After graduating from Tulane University, she worked at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab studying how plankton were responding to the BP Oil Spill. She took this water quality interest and later earned a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she studied oysters. Wanting to continue studying wetland habitats, Lemon returned to Louisiana to work on her PhD at LSU. While at LSU she has also worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pontchartrain Conservancy. Lemon hopes to build upon her coastal science foundation with the Knauss fellowship to further expand her understanding of the intersection of science and coastal policy formulation.

Photo: Caleb Taylor

Caleb Taylor
LSU Department of Renewable Natural Resources

A Mississippi native, Taylor is no stranger to Louisiana having fished here as a kid. After Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill, he learned how vulnerable his favorite fishing spots were. After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, Taylor worked at the Gulf Research Lab studying coastal fisheries and later took those skills to Alaska at a salmon hatchery. After through-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Taylor returned to the Gulf with Texas Parks and Wildlife to continue his fisheries career. Then Hurricane Harvey hit. Taylor was part of the clean-up effort and experienced community resilience first hand. Later, he returned to the marshes of his youth for his master’s degree where he studies blue crab populations in Louisiana’s delta system. While in D.C., Taylor hopes to gain a better understanding of how to create effective science-based management for the benefit of all.