I actively support and participate in science that informs effective marine legislation and policy.
As a 2011-2012 NOAA Sea Grant legislative fellow in the office of Congresswoman Lois Capps, I advised the Representative on local and national ocean policy issues ranging from the implementation of catch shares in her district to the Administration’s National Ocean Policy. A core component of my responsibilities included serving as a liaison between the Congresswoman and a diversity of stakeholders including constituents, the fishing community, scientists, private and non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies, and other members of Congress and their staff. My daily interactions with these groups demanded strong oral and written communication skills as well as an ability to translate technical scientific and legislative information to a broad audience while maintaining accuracy and accountability.
I worked closely with various stakeholder groups to advance legislation and to identify and develop new legislative initiatives and strategies related to marine conservation. Drawing upon the collective expertise of these groups, I analyzed, amended, and directed the reintroduction of the National Sustainable Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2011 and the Oceans and Human Health Act of 2011. I also spent a significant amount of my time researching, monitoring, and making official recommendations on policies, laws, and regulations that impacted species protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Specifically, I worked on issues related to the “no otter zone” and range expansion of the southern sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis, in southern California and its impact on the sea otters, the Navy, local conservation groups, and fisherman. I also researched, monitored, and made recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard regarding the reconfiguration of shipping lanes in the Santa Barbara Channel to reduce ship strikes on endangered whales.