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Courtney Nicole Hammond

Courtney "Nicole" Hammond, Knauss Fellow, class of 2023
In this blog, Nicole will contribute notes on her experience and work at STAR during her Fellowship year.

Entry #1: Knauss 101 - 21 April 2023

Class of 2023 Knauss Fellowship Orientation, taken by National Sea Grant College Program. February 2023.
Current Louisiana Sea Grant fellows, fellow alumni and Sea Grant Staff.
Before my first day starting as a Knauss fellow outside NOAA offices in Silver Spring, MD.

Hello! Bienvenue, cher! My name is Nicole Hammond and I am a 2023 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow working with STAR as a Policy, Communications and Engagement fellow.

The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides experiences for graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The fellowship matches graduate students with host offices in the legislative and executive branches of the government and the students work in the office for a year! The program is named after the founder of the National Sea Grant Program and NOAA administrator, John A. Knauss.

We are a large and diverse group of individuals from all across the nation representing a wide range of Sea Grant programs. Each of us come from a variety of backgrounds with varying levels of education and experiences within different disciplines. I made the move to the Washington D.C area from Baton Rouge, LA in the beginning of 2023 so the weather was one of the first major adjustments. (See the sidebar to meet the 2023 Knauss Fellows class and learn more about the program.)

I am 1 of 5 fellows representing Louisiana Sea Grant. Recently, I earned my M.S. in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University. Geaux Tigers! My research focused on the physical and chemical drivers of harmful cyanobacteria blooms in a local estuary. As a scientist trained in ecology and marine science, the world surrounding satellites and remote sensing is a new research realm that I have come to love and appreciate.

STAR is the Center for Satellite Applications and Research and is an office within the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS), a line office of NOAA. The mission of the office is to use innovative science to transform satellite observations into meaningful information essential to society’s evolving environmental, security and economic decision-making.

Having a science background has provided me with the baseline knowledge of the large issues that society faces today, like climate change and human health issues but also other factors that play an important role such as soil health, water resources, extreme weather events and air quality. STAR serves an important role in the translation of data into meaningful products and solutions that can be practical in creating an informed and sustainable society. I really believe that we as an office can play a role as a catalyst and resource to address these complex environmental and societal problems.

As I continue the fellowship into its early stages and learn the ropes of what it means to be a federal employee, follow me on my journey.

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