News & Events


February 10, 2016

Melissa Watkinson Selected as Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow

Melissa Watkinson, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, has been selected as the first Hershman Marine Policy Fellow from the University of Washington Bothell. Melissa’s passion for her community and the Pacific Northwest led her to complete her Bachelor of Arts in Global studies and Society, Ethics and Behavior in 2011 and her Master of Arts in Policy Studies in 2015. She started working with The Nature Conservancy this fall on coastal climate resiliency and policies where she hopes to learn how established non-profits engage with local communities and policies on pressing environmental issues.
In fall 2013, Melissa enrolled in the Policy Studies program and published her first article in the 2014 Policy Journal. As a graduate student, Melissa had the exciting opportunity of working alongside fellow native researchers in tribal communities as a student health research assistant with the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. In winter 2015, she was offered a Research Assistantship with Washington Sea Grant to collaborate on a social indicators project for the Washington Marine Spatial Plan where she strengthened and effectively applied quantitative and spatial skills.
MelissaWMelissa has been passionate about issues of environmental public policy for quite some time now. Her capstone research project at UW Bothell employed cross-disciplinary research methods to better understand the impacts of historical land policies and more recent land consolidation programs on climate change adaptation for tribal communities who are experiencing a loss of coastal land. Additionally, she has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member as the Community Outreach Coordinator at the UW Bothell Office of Community-based Learning and Research in between degrees. She also volunteered with Oxfam America for four years working on food aid and climate change issues.
Melissa’s academic and professional research opportunities, along with the support of the Hershman Marine Policy Fellowship, have led her to pursue a career working with coastal tribal communities affected by changing environments and impacting environmental policy.

Adapted, from “Policy Studies Alum Melissa Watkinson Selected as Hershman Marine Policy Fellow,” found online at