Katrina Lassiter has spent the last five years as the staff lead on marine spatial planning at the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). At the direction of the state legislature, the state natural resources agencies are collaborating with stakeholders on a Governor’s advisory council to develop a proactive marine spatial plan to address potential new ocean uses like marine renewable energy, offshore aquaculture, bio-extraction, dredging and dredge disposal, and mining. Katrina also analyzes state legislation, provides policy advice to staff, and sits on the West Coast Regional Planning Body and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Prior to joining the WDNR, Katrina worked for the U.S. Congress as an ocean, energy, and environment policy advisor. She got her foot in the door to Congress through the Knauss fellowship where she worked amongst a large cohort of MAF graduates. In 2007, Katrina received a MMA from the University of Washington School of Marine (and Environmental) Affairs. 3,000 miles away from the University of Rhode Island, Katrina runs into MAF alumni in Washington state at wooden boat festivals, marine spatial planning conferences, and aquaculture meetings.
“Growing up, I told anyone who would listen that I wanted to be an oceanologist. Given that oceanologist is not an actual profession, I found the perfect blend of marine science and policy in the URI marine affairs program. Classes in coastal zone management and marine ecology gave me a great foundation, while classes with professors like Richard Pollnac challenged me to think about the cultural dimensions of coastal communities. The marine affairs program also connected me to a volunteer position at the Coastal Resources Center where I was exposed to their various international coastal management projects. As a coastal resources fellow, I had the opportunity to conduct field work and develop research, writing, and presentation skills. I left URI with an interdisciplinary education that well prepared me for graduate school and a career in ocean policy.”