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Connecting capable enthusiasm with meaningful opportunity through Stanford
  • Sierra Killian
Sierra Killian

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Stanford University offers a wide variety of opportunities for its students to engage in substantive, meaningful academic and professional experiences at the interface of ocean science and policy. As a student studying interdisciplinary environmental science, these programs have been transformative for how I see myself academically and professionally. The opportunities are made possible by collaborations with other academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and governments. For instance, the Stanford at SEA program partners with the Sea Education Association to introduce students to marine biology and oceanography alongside sail handling and celestial navigation aboard a tall ship. While dissecting fish stomachs on the ship, I became more comfortable identifying myself as a scientist and fell in love with being at sea. Outside of courses, Stanford provides students with myriad ways to undertake significant work experiences. The Stanford in Washington program, for example, matches undergraduates with government offices or nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., for full-time internships during the school year. Students also take classes in the evening to complement their work experiences. I interned at the Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division, which gave me a unique perspective on how federal agencies enforce environmental statutes. The Haas Center for Public Service and Stanford in Government, a student organization, also provide stipends for hundreds of summer fellowships. With SIG funding, I worked at the Center for Ocean Solutions and contributed significantly to a coastal adaptation policy project and planning for a new small-scale fisheries initiative. My experience with Stanford's programs have allowed me to substantively contribute to my learning about the ocean and to the missions of my host organizations while also giving me a sense of direction for my plans post-graduation.