Three of the 10 National Academies’ Gulf Research Program Science Policy Fellows from LSU

BATON ROUGE – The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have announced the 10 recipients of its 2018 Science Policy Fellowships. Three of the fellows are from LSU.

“This year we received a record number of applications, and it was challenging to choose the awardees given the many talented candidates eager to contribute their background and expertise to helping make science directly beneficial to the Gulf region,” said Maggie Walser, National Academies’ Gulf Research Program director of education and capacity building.

The science policy fellowships focus on leadership development and capacity building at the science-policy interface by providing fellows with a one-year experience on the staff of a federal or state environmental, natural resources, oil and gas, or public health agency in the Gulf of Mexico region.

The three science policy fellows from LSU are:

Kathryn KeatingSociology doctoral student Kathryn Keating from Bloomington, Ind. will conduct her fellowship at the RESTORE Council in New Orleans. Her research focuses on healthcare, mental health and disaster resilience. She is also interested in data collection methods for social science research. Keating holds a B.A. in sociology and a Bachelor of Social Work from Indiana University, a Master of Social Work from Portland State University and will complete a M.A. in sociology from LSU in August 2018. Most recently, she worked as study coordinator for the Resilient Children, Youth and Communities, or RCYC Project, a partnership between LSU and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI. The RCYC project utilizes a longitudinal, mixed-methods approach to understanding resilience outcomes for Louisiana children, families and communities following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Keating is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Louisiana with a clinical background in integrated behavioral health and work with rural communities.



Elizabeth RobinsonElizabeth Robinson from Shreveport, La. received her Ph.D. from the LSU Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences and will be a fellow at the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in Baton Rouge. She earned a B.S. in biology from Centenary College of Louisiana, a M.S. in biology from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi and a Ph.D. in oceanography and coastal sciences from LSU. Prior to graduate school, she interned at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, or LUMCON, working on a project involving hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Her dissertation research focused on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on mollusk and crustacean populations, behaviors and predator-prey interactions. She was recognized as a Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI, Scholar for her contributions to understanding the effects of the oil spill. Her general research interests include coastal ecology, benthic ecology and aquatic toxicology. In her free time, she communicates science through art using color pencil and ink media. Her passion in art and science aided the development of LUMCON’s Coastal Art and Science Camp for high school students.

Kelcee SmithConservation biology doctoral candidate Kelcee Smith from Ringgold, Ga. will be a fellow at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in Austin, Texas. At LSU, she studies genetic and population dynamics of the federally endangered smalltooth sawfish. She has worked with smalltooth sawfish since 2009 as both an intern and fisheries biologist for NOAA Fisheries. She received her bachelor’s degree in marine biology with minors in chemistry and mass communication from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. Her experience working with endangered species and communicating complicated science to the public has led to her interest in science policy. Upon completing her degree at LSU, Smith plans to work as a liaison between scientists and policy makers to ensure effective and efficient use of resources affecting imperiled species recovery. Smith is a founding member of the LSU Women in Science organization, where she works to bring together female graduate students, faculty and staff across disciplines.

Since its inception four years ago, LSU has been awarded at least one science policy fellow every year. Previous science policy fellows from LSU include David Reeves (2017), Paulina Kolic (2016), Stephanie Sharuga (2016) and Cholena Ren (2015).

The science policy fellowships are competitive awards among a suite of program activities aimed at supporting the development of future generations of scientists, engineers and health professionals who are prepared to work at the intersections of offshore energy system safety, human health and well-being and environmental stewardship in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. coastal regions.

The fellowships are awarded to recent graduate or professional students or those who have completed their studies and demonstrate a strong scientific or technical background, superior academic achievement, and leadership qualities. Fellows receive an annual stipend of $45,000 for current students or $55,000 for graduates. In addition, fellows are paired with a mentor at their host offices and have opportunities for professional development.

The National Academies’ Gulf Research Program is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It seeks to enhance offshore energy system safety and to protect human health and the environment by catalyzing advances in science, practice and capacity to generate long-term benefits for the Gulf of Mexico region and the nation. The program has $500 million for use over 30 years to fund grants, fellowships and other activities in the areas of research and development, education and training, and monitoring and synthesis.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and to inform public policy decisions related to science, technology and medicine. The Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.


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National Academies’ Gulf Research Program Science Policy Fellows:





Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations