NOAA, Sea Grant Select Nicholls Alum for Prestigious D.C. Fellowship

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University graduate Spring Gaines (BS ‘08) is one of 74 finalists for the 2022 Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program.

The one-year fellowship matches graduate students with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. Gaines will be a part of the legislative cohort, working with a congressional representative or committee.

“Being a Knauss Fellow is an incredible opportunity to be directly involved in marine policy issues on the federal level,” Gaines said. “I am honored and excited to be able to work with game-changers on Capitol Hill.”

Since 1979, almost 1,500 fellows have completed the program. Knauss fellows have a long history of becoming influential leaders in science, policy-making and public administration. Gaines is the second Nicholls alum to earn a Knauss Fellowship.

Knauss finalists are vetted through a competitive review process. They must first apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs, with successful candidates then reviewed by a national panel of experts.

“I’m from St. Bernard. This coast is my home, and I want to do what I can to protect it for generations after me,” Gaines said. “Nicholls not only gave me the background, knowledge and tools but also the confidence to be able to educate others about this incredible biosphere we experience every day and to advocate for the positive change we need.”

Gaines will go through a virtual orientation in January before moving to Washington D.C. in February.

“While at Nicholls, I had fantastic opportunities with my marine biology professors and the Honors College. I was able to go out into the marsh, plant and measure Spartina grasses, participate in frog-calling and fish surveys and even present at state conferences on the anatomy and physiology of bowhead whale hearing mechanisms,” Gaines said. “Nicholls led me on a path to want to advocate for our wetlands and estuaries. With this fellowship, I saw a unique opportunity to use my marine science background and legal knowledge in environmental law to get in on the ground floor with leading coastal issues facing our nation.”

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