Class of 2013 / Fellowships

Changing Tides: Women in Policy

California Sea Grant provides unique educational opportunities for graduate students in the form of 12-month paid fellowships. Mandy Sackett completed her fellowship at the California Ocean Protection Council.

The following is a guest post from Mandy.

Mandy Sackett completed her fellowship at the California Ocean Protection Council.

Women and the environment

As consumers, producers, educators, and caretakers of their families, women play an important role in promoting sustainable development through their concern for the quality and sustainability of life for present and future generations.

However, internationally, women remain largely absent at all levels of policy formulation and decision-making in natural resource and environmental management, conservation, protection, and rehabilitation. Their experience and skills in advocacy for and monitoring of proper natural resource management too often remains marginalized in policy-making and decision-making bodies, as well as in educational institutions and environment-related agencies at the managerial level, according to the UN. This is a significant issue given that the strategic actions needed for sound environmental management require a holistic, multidisciplinary and intersectoral approach; one that women must be a part of.

Women and Sacramento

Given the disparity between genders in the global environmental policy field, I feel incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded by powerful, intelligent women in Sacramento during my fellowship. The Ocean Protection Council is led by Executive Director Cat Kuhlman and Deputy Director Amy Vierra. Under their guidance I witnessed and contributed to important high-level policy making on a daily basis. Their progressive mind set, hard work and determination is invaluable to ocean resource management in California. I will be able to draw inspiration from this experience for the rest of my career.

Mandy Sackett and 2013 State Fellows at the "Thank You Ocean" campaign at California Academy of Sciences.

Mandy Sackett and 2013 State Fellows at the “Thank You Ocean” campaign at California Academy of Sciences.

In addition, I was able to create strong bonds with the 2013 Sea Grant Fellow cohort based in Sacramento – all of whom were women with strong scientific backgrounds and who are going on to make great contributions to the marine science and policy worlds. This experience widened my perspective as to what is possible to accomplish in our field and gave me hope that our generation will continue to increase our scientific understanding of marine systems and also improve marine policy and resource management. I am so grateful for the wonderful friendships I made with such talented, intelligent and fun ladies!

Gratitude and my career

We can be thankful for the female pioneers who helped break down the intellectual, social, and professional barriers that long prevented women from entering male-dominated fields like science and policy in the US. I know that, in my own career, I owe the ease of my advancement to the efforts of women who preceded me.

Currently, I am employed as a Coastal Program Analyst with the California Coastal Commission in San Diego where I continue to be inspired by the resource management policies that exist in California. (The San Diego office is also led by two incredible women!)

Written by Mandy Sackett

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For more information about Mandy’s work at the California Ocean Protection Council:
Fighting the world’s largest landfill starts at the local level

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