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Florida International University graduate student selected for inaugural

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) are pleased to announce that Kristine Zikmanis has been selected for the 2024 Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, Accepting, and Accessible (IDEA2) Public Policy Fellowship. This new professional development opportunity provides young scientists with valuable first-hand experience in science policy.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) are pleased to announce that Kristine Zikmanis has been selected for the 2024 Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, Accepting, and Accessible (IDEA2) Public Policy Fellowship. This new professional development opportunity provides young scientists with valuable first-hand experience in science policy.

Kristine Zikmanis is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University. As an ecologist, Zikmanis studies animal behavior and has a strong interest in research at the intersection of ecology and marine policy. She is also passionate about science communication and collaborative research. In 2020, she received the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship, administered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management—an experience that ignited her passion for actionable science. As a NOAA Fellow, she helped scientists and coastal communities understand the challenges that influence future policy and management strategies.

Ms. Zikmanis applied for the fellowship because it provides “actual work experience” in science policy. “It will allow me to take all the knowledge and skills I have obtained during my graduate career and learn how to apply it at the federal level,” she notes. Kristine firmly believes that it is the responsibility of scientists to “ensure that the research we conduct is appropriately communicated to make informed management decisions,” adding, “our research can only make a difference if decision makers are aware of and understand it.”

During the summer of 2024, Ms. Zikmanis will work closely with AIBS and SURA policy staff to gain first-hand experience with science policy and advocacy efforts that inform federal decision-making. She will have the opportunity to work on a range of projects, including conducting research for science policy initiatives, monitoring the activities of federal science agencies, and tracking and reporting on legislative developments.

“AIBS is excited to partner with SURA to provide this unique training opportunity to a young scientist who is keenly interested in gaining valuable experiences in science policy,” said AIBS Chief Executive Officer Scott Glisson. “Ms. Zikmanis impressed the committee with her enthusiasm for scientific discovery and her ability to translate those discoveries into accessible messages for policy makers,” noted SURA President and CEO Sean Hearne. “We look forward to working with her and having her interact with policy makers from around the country.

The IDEA2 Public Policy Fellowship is financially supported by AIBS and SURA. SURA is a national consortium of over 50 universities dedicated to advancing collaborative research and education and to strengthen the scientific capabilities of its members and the nation. AIBS is a nonprofit scientific association dedicated to advancing the biological sciences for the benefit of science and society. More information about the program is available at io.aibs.org/idea2fellow