UAB biology Ph.D. student selected as 2024 John Knauss Marine Policy Fellow

A UAB doctoral student was recently selected as a 2024 John Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.

stream Keister headshot Jul2021Photo Credit: Elise KeisterA University of Alabama at Birmingham Ph.D. student in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology was recently selected as a 2024 John Knauss Marine Policy Fellow under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Elise Keister, a Jacksonville, Florida, native came to UAB in 2017. A student in the laboratory of Dustin Kemp, Ph.D., Keister performs research around comparing corals found in environments that regularly experience heat stress and have developed a resilience to these conditions with nearby corals that have not.

The John Knauss Fellowship is a one-year paid position that will allow fellows the unique opportunity to develop their scientific knowledge and experience in the field of policy and public administration.

“I applied for this opportunity due to my interest to learn more about the intersection of science and policy and to develop my knowledge in how science is informing and influencing policy on the state and national levels,” Keister said.

In 2024, Keister will relocate to Washington, D.C., where most of the Sea Grant offices are located, and will begin work in the office she is matched to based on her top research preferences.

Originally under the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Keister was selected to move on to the national level, where she was selected to work in an executive office beginning in 2024 as part of her fellowship opportunity.

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“Receiving this fellowship has been so exciting, and it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Keister said. “The Department of Biology and the graduate program directors, Dr. Stephen Watts and Dr. Peggy Biga, have shown me so much support in getting to the next level. The community and camaraderie among the student body has been one of my favorite parts of my UAB experience.”  

Keister will be graduating from UAB this December and will be starting her fellowship with the NSGC program in February of 2024.  

Established by the U.S. Congress, the NSGC program works to create and maintain a healthy coastal environment and economy.

NOAA is an agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce whose mission is to protect the natural world and its resources through technology, research, partnership, and the advocation of climate and weather policy.