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Pamela Michael
Knauss Fellow 2012
MS Marine Science, Hawaiʻi Pacific University
BS Biology, University of Puget Sound

2525 Correa Road, HIG 238
Honolulu, HI 96822

Ever since she was a young girl, Pam Michael knew she would focus her career on nature and the natural world. With both parents employed by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, she grew up spending most of her time outdoors, and many of the dinner table conversations focused on regulations and the impact that these laws and regulations had on the resources they were designed to protect. So, it was no surprise that she opted to pursue a bachelor’s of science in biology at the University of Puget Sound and then go on to obtain a master’s of science in marine science from Hawai‘i Pacific University.

Early in her college years, Pam was passionate about focusing on a career in science, but as she noted, “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.” As a recipient of a highly competitive Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship she was given an invaluable opportunity to see firsthand how these two seemingly different worlds intersect for the benefit of communities throughout the U.S. and beyond.

In her position with NOAA’s Marine Data Stewardship Division, under the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, she focused on acquiring and archiving oceanographic data and making the data readily available to the public so it could be accessed online. She also identified gaps in educational materials enabling the public to use satellite-derived data. Since this type of work is so different from what she focused on in her master’s degree she felt intimidated at first, but what attracted her to the position was the ability to learn how data which are expensive to collect are made public, and are put into a format which is both very versatile and understandable to the user.

When asked if she had any words of wisdom for prospective Knauss fellows who might be considering applying in the future, she noted “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.”