Auburn natural resources master’s graduate Sarah Lessard selected for prestigious Knauss Fellowship

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Auburn University natural resources master's graduate Sarah Lessard of Franklinton, Louisiana, has been selected to spend this year working with the House Committee on Natural Resources in Washington, D.C., as a Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.

This highly competitive fellowship matches graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and the national policy decisions affecting those resources with governmental offices in Washington for a one-year paid fellowship. Recipients may be placed within either the legislative or executive branch of the federal government.

"I can't wait to spend a year in Congress working on issues that are important to me and seeing how my work will influence the policymaking process," said Lessard, who earned a Master of Science in natural resources in summer 2017 from Auburn's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

She will be working with the staff of the committee, offices of members who sit on the committee, a variety of executive agency personnel, private sector stakeholders, the environmental community, academic institutions, scientists and other constituents.

"I hope to act as a resource for committee staff by offering my knowledge of natural resource management and social science," Lessard said. "I also have some experience in science communication, so I am looking forward to using those skills for drafting talking points and statements for members of the committee."

Lessard's major advisor, Wayde Morse, said the research she conducted at Auburn will benefit her during the fellowship.

"Sarah's excellent human dimensions research on endangered whooping cranes provided her the perfect background for working at the nexus of people and the environment that is essential for conservation of our natural resources. She will be a great asset to the Natural Resources Committee."

Lessard is an example of Auburn student leaders who provide meaningful societal impact through research and outreach.

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The Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment is a flagship institution for natural resources-based degrees including natural resource management, geospatial and environmental informatics and sustainable biomaterials and packaging. The school serves as the backbone for Alabama’s $30 billion+ forest, wildlife and natural resources related enterprises. Its mission is to create next-generation professionals and leaders, to develop new knowledge and disseminate science-based solutions to our clientele to improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of citizens in Alabama and beyond.