North Carolina Sea Grant
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News Releases

February 11, 2019 | Marisa Incremona

John Fear, 919-515-9104,
Katie Mosher, 919-515-9069,

Four Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship finalists from North Carolina are serving a year in Washington, D.C. in the federal executive and legislative branches. Alicia M. Cheripka, Jill Hamilton, Chrissy Hayes and William Thaxton started their placements this month.

As the 2019 class begins their assignments, North Carolina Sea Grant is accepting applications for the 2020 Knauss fellowship program. That deadline is  5 p.m. Feb. 22, 2019. Interested applicants can find more information at

Incoming 2019 Knauss Fellows placed in the executive branch.

Funded by the National Sea Grant College Program, the fellowship honors John A. Knauss, a Sea Grant founder and former dean of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. The new fellows focus on policies and processes that affect ocean, coastal and Great Lakes issues.

Cheripka earned a master’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her thesis project included creating a model to determine how various marine protected area network configurations affect species. She will work as an international liaison for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Ocean Acidification Program.

Hamilton received a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University, concentrating in coastal environmental management. Her thesis explored international aid for small-scale fisheries and considered how future aid efforts could align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Hamilton will serve in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Marine Conservation.

Incoming 2019 Knauss Fellows placed in the legislative branch.

Hayes also earned a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke, concentrating in coastal environmental management. Her studies focused on the performance of small-scale fisheries development. Hayes will serve in the NOAA Office of International Affairs.

Thaxton completed his master’s degree in biology at East Carolina University. He explored the effects of climate variability on several commercially important marine fishes in Beaufort Inlet. Thaxton will focus on ocean and natural resource policy in the office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii.

For more information about North Carolina’s fellows, read our story from Coastwatch Summer 2018. The link includes photos to download.


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