Born and raised in Northern California, my west coast roots inspired me to pursue an education and career in protecting the environment. After graduating from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Communication and Sustainability, I aimed to use my communication skills to better enhance environmental policy. (At this time, science was minimally present in my life). Throughout my studies, I worked in the climate policy space for a grassroots organization where I served as their policy expert for all things related to climate, oceans, and the environment. Through this work, I began to recognize a gap in people’s ability to effectively communicate technical science for the purpose of creating sound environmental policy. This inspired me to pursue a Master’s in Science to help bridge the gap between scientists and policymakers to solve crucial environmental issues at hand.
I was thrilled to learn more about the EMAP program because it presented an opportunity to combine my communication skills and policy expertise, with a deeper understanding of technical science. I had first-hand knowledge of how to communicate and craft policy, but I was lacking the technical science expertise to ensure that it was created based on the best available science. When I took on the role as a Coastal Ocean Science and Policy Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it sparked my interest in ocean and marine policy and allowed me to use my ever-growing science-communication skills to advance scientific efforts and address marine policy issues. After graduation, I completed an internship with the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives where I was able to apply the scientific knowledge I gained from the EMAP program to enhancing national environmental legislation.
Now, I am more than confident to take on a role as both a policymaker and a scientist. I was selected as a 2022 John A. Knauss Legislative Fellow where I am able to focus on ocean, coastal, and marine resources and the national policy decisions that affect them. My placement is as a professional staff member on the House Committee on Natural Resources; Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife in the U.S House of Representatives. I am eager to work hands-on in a Legislative Committee to advance environmental legislation through a scientific lens, and I have the EMAP Program, faculty, and students to thank for this amazing opportunity.
My advice for future EMAP students (especially those who may not have a strong science background) is to remain open-minded and willing to learn, especially in areas where you’re not as comfortable. Take full advantage of the resources and opportunities this program provides – by doing so, it’s hard not to succeed.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org (new window), as I would be happy to discuss my experience in the EMAP Program and provide any advice that may be helpful. Hoya Saxa!