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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Monica Allard Cox : (401) 874-6937/

Three URI students receive prestigious
Knauss fellowships

NARRAGANSETT R.I. -- January 7, 2003 -- Three University of Rhode Island (URI) graduate students are among 33 nationally who have been awarded a one-year, $38,000 National Sea Grant College Program Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. The three are on their way to Washington, D.C., to work in the federal government in marine policy–related areas, starting February 1, 2003.

Ramesh Baskaran, from Malaysia, is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental and natural resource economics. Baskaran will be working in the Fisheries Statistics and Economics Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of Science and Technology. Baskaran, who received his bachelor of science degree and his master of business administration degree from the University of Putra Malaysia says, "Living and working in a peninsular state as I have, one cannot escape the impacts to fisheries associated with general mismanagement of the resource." Baskaran also worked for the finance ministry for the government of Malaysia, where, he says, he "encountered many of the problems and failures government agencies face in the implementation of public policies."

Carli Bertrand, of Narragansett, R.I., is a master’s degree candidate in marine affairs. Bertrand is "ecstatic" to be working for the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Fisheries. Bertrand, who speaks French and Wolof, has worked in West Africa, first as a U.S. Peace Corps environmental specialist working on environmental education, and later as an international education consultant for the Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, conducting scientific training workshops. "As a Peace Corps volunteer, in addition to my responsibilities as an environmental educator, I helped West African fishers pull their nets onto shore and brought Senegalese school children to the coast for their first taste of the salty Atlantic." Bertrand received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Colorado and a certificate of oceanographic/marine research from the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Mass. She was also a National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellow from 2001 to 2002.

Sunshine Menezes, from Michigan, is a Ph.D. candidate in biological oceanography. Menezes will be working for Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who serves on the House Resources Committee’s Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans Subcommittee. "I will get to work on a broad range of environmental issues, including air and water quality and global change, in addition to ocean issues," Menezes says. Menezes, who received her bachelor of science degree from Michigan State University, has studied coral physiology in the Florida Keys, barrier beach biology on the New Jersey shore, and phytoplankton ecology at URI. She gained her interest in environmental issues from her parents, both environmental activists, who practiced sustainable living and grew their own food. "The storybook character I most admired was Laura Ingalls Wilder, because I could actually relate to her life," Menezes says. As a teenager, she founded an activist group for teens, but eventually realized that "there are at least two sides to each story," and decided the best contribution she could make would be to study science.

The Knauss Fellowship, established in 1979, provides a unique educational experience to students with an interest in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The program matches highly qualified graduate students with hosts in the legislative branch, executive branch, or appropriate associations/institutions located in the Washington, D.C., area.

Sea Grant is a nationwide program that promotes the conservation and sustainable development of marine resources for the public benefit.

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