Texas Sea Grant College Program announces Knauss Fellowships

May 27, 2011

By Jim Hiney

COLLEGE STATION, TX — Four graduate students sponsored by the Texas Sea Grant College Program have been awarded prestigious Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships for 2012.

Alyson Azzara, Liam Carr, April Bagwill and Kathleen Welder will each spend the year working for a host office in either the Legislative or Executive Branches of the federal government in the Washington, D.C., area. Knauss Fellowships, established in 1979, provide a unique educational experience to students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting these resources. The program is named in honor of one of Sea Grant’s founders, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator, John A. Knauss.

Azzara is a doctoral student from Texas A&M at Galveston who is studying underwater acoustics. Her dissertation focuses on noise pollution from large vessel traffic to find out if it affects the way sperm whales communicate.

Carr is a doctoral student from Texas A&M University in College Station who is an accomplished fisheries scientist. His most recent research looks at the knowledge and attitudes of commercial fishermen in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and how their behaviors are influenced by current fishing regulations.

Bagwill is an experienced wetland ecologist who will receive her Ph.D. this year from Oklahoma State University. Her dissertation research focuses on the effects that land use practices have on the functions of playa lake wetlands and the associated amphibian populations in the Texas panhandle area.

Welder is a master’s degree student at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. She is a seventh generation Texan from the Corpus Christi area who is currently studying the economic value provided by various ecosystems and their functions.

This marks the fourth time in Texas Sea Grant history that four of its applicants have received Knauss Fellowships.


Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.