Two University of Georgia graduate students, Mary Katherine Rogener and Sarah Harrison, have been selected for the 2018 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. The fellowship, sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, will allow Harrison and Rogener to spend a year in marine policy-related positions in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government in Washington D.C.

Rogener earned her bachelor’s degree in marine science from Boston University, where she studied human impacts on the coastal estuaries of New England. She is currently working towards a doctorate in marine sciences at UGA. Her graduate studies focus on investigating human impacts on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, specifically sites impacted by the Deepwater Horizon spill and the low oxygen dead zone off the coast of Louisiana.

“As a graduate student, I have observed a disconnect between policy makers and researchers,” said Rogener. “The Knauss Fellowship will help me bridge the gap between active research and the creation of new, science-based coastal management policies.”

Harrison completed her undergraduate work at Haverford College, near Philadelphia, where she worked in a lab studying the fate and transformation of oil in the Gulf of Mexico environment following the Deepwater Horizon spill. After obtaining a degree in chemistry and minor in classics, Harrison began her graduate work at the Department of Marine Sciences at UGA in 2014.

“My experience studying oil spills in the Gulf allowed me to peer into some of the policies, laws and regulations surrounding off-shore energy development,” said Harrison. “I want to work as public servant and help craft and implement science-guided policies and legislation that make the lives of everyday Americans better. Understanding and participating in the legislative and policy making process will be an invaluable asset for my future.”

The fellows join 62 others selected from a competitive pool of nominees representing the 33 Sea Grant programs in the coastal and Great Lakes states and territories. In November 2017, the 2018 fellows will travel to Washington, D.C. to interview with several executive or legislative offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2018.

Contact: Emily Woodward,, 912-598-2348, ext. 107