Four UMCES graduate students selected as Knauss Fellows

July 29, 2019

Four University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science graduate students have been named finalists of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program sponsored by Sea Grant and NOAA. Katie Hornick, Amanda Lawrence, Wenfei Ni, and Caroline Wiernicki are among 69 national finalists for the 2020 fellowship class chosen to work in either the Executive or Legislative branches of government on coastal and marine science policy for one year.

Finalists for the Knauss Fellowship are chosen through a series of reviews at both the state and national levels. Their official placement in a government organization will be determined after interviews with several executive or legislative offices this fall. The impact of their policy work may take place at the Legislative (e.g. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senate Commerce Committee, House Committee on Natural Resources) or Executive (e.g. NOAA, Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, U.S. Navy) levels.

Katie Hornick works in Associate Profesor Louis Plough’s lab at the Horn Point Laboratory examining the genetic impact of hatchery-based oyster restoration in Maryland. Her research focuses on genetic diversity metrics, a measure of a population’s health and resilience. She is also building a computer model to forecast the genetic impacts of hatchery-based restoration and potentially inform responsible restoration strategies.

Amanda Lawrence works with Professor Sook Chung at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology to identify a male-specific hormone that indicates maturity in crabs. Her work will provide information to fisheries management so they can make well informed decisions about size limits.

Wenfei Ni works with Professor Ming Li's group at Horn Point Laboratory. Her research focuses on the interdisciplinary study of climate change and human impacts on Chesapeake Bay hypoxia and water quality, using numerical model simulations and statistical models to interpret historical trends and make future projections.

Caroline Wiernicki works with Professor Dave Secor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory exploring how black sea bass respond to summer storm events and how these natural disturbances effect their movement behavior. The study site east of Ocean City, Maryland,  has been slated for future offshore wind development.