Islander Doctoral Student Receives Prestigious Knauss Fellowship, Makes Way to Washington, D.C.

Published: June 27, 2017

Islander Doctoral Student Receives Prestigious Knauss Fellowship, Makes Way to Washington, D.C.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Leading numerous deployments of an autonomous underwater vehicle through Baffin and Corpus Christi Bay, Emily Cira, Ph.D. candidate in the Coastal and Marine System Science Program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has been conducting research to improve the overall management of coastal ecosystems since 2011. Now, as a newly selected recipient of the 2018 Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship, Cira will travel across the nation to Washington, D.C. where she will work closely with a host in either the executive or legislative branch of government for one paid year.

“The Knauss Fellowship will compliment my dissertation research on coastal water quality and will give me the opportunity to see how research like mine can be applied to guide management decisions, and more importantly, will let me have an active role in that process,” said Cira.

The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources, and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. Cira, whose dissertation research focuses on the persistent brown tide blooms in Baffin Bay, has worked to observe the spatial and temporal trends of the phytoplankton community in  Baffin Bay and connect these trends to environmental (e.g., temperature, salinity) and anthropogenic (e.g. nutrient loading) factors.

“I am looking forward to the immersive experience I will get with this Fellowship, and the countless professional and personal growth opportunities I will have throughout the term,” said Cira. “Although I won’t find out what office I’ll be working in until later this year, I know this opportunity will be invaluable as I pursue a career in coastal resource management.”

The 2018 Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship is awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and will begin in February 2018. To find out more about this Fellowship, visit