HPU graduate earns prestigious NOAA marine policy fellowship

May 15, 2012

HONOLULU — A scientist who earned her masters degree in marine science last year from Hawai‘i Pacific University has been awarded a year-long Washington, D.C., fellowship through which she is working with federal government leaders on key marine policy issues affecting the entire nation.

The highly competitive Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships pair top graduate students with hosts in the executive and legislative branches of government, according to the website for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which sponsors the program. HPU graduate Pamela Michael began her fellowship in February and will continue through January 2013, working with NOAA’s Marine Data Stewardship Division, under the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service.

NOAA is the United States’ oldest federal science agency, with roots that stretch back to President Thomas Jefferson’s establishment of Survey of the Coast in 1807. Its mandate includes scientific oversight for climate, weather, oceans and coasts.

Michael is one of only 41 fellows in the 2012 class. Other fellows include graduate students from MIT, Cornell, Yale, the University of California, Scripps, Woods Hole and other leading campuses. Though her academic preparation is in science, not policy, she embraced the fellowship as a singular opportunity to expand her horizons.

“As I developed in my career, and particularly as a master’s student, I began to appreciate the importance of policy, of communicating about policy, and learning how to integrate science into policy,” she said, according to Ka Pili Kai Spring 2012 newsletter. “It is hard to imagine yourself in a position that does not exactly fit your background, but it is a wonderful opportunity to grow as an individual, as a scientist, strengthen your resume, and live in a world that is surrounded by science and policy which can be incorporated and integrated into real world situations.”

Note: A photograph of Michael is available on the NOAA website at