By Sydney MaHan, Virginia Sea Grant Student Correspondent
In February, Santhiska (Thiska) Pather completed her Knauss Fellowship working for the Ecological and Health Processes Branch within the Office of Science and Technology, Office of Water at the US-EPA.
“I think I achieved one of my goals for this fellowship year—to learn what happens to the science once it leaves the lab,” Pather said. In her role as the National Nutrient Criteria Program Fellow, Pather helped to connect EPA federal and regional offices with states in the Gulf of Mexico. Her work assisted states like Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Mississippi as they were developing limits for nutrients in their waters.
For Pather, working at the EPA’s Office of Water was a great opportunity.
“My office has encouraged me to learn as much as I can about how science policy is created, both at the staff and managerial levels and has given me a lot of freedom to carve my own niche here,” Pather said. One of the projects Pather spearheaded was an effort to review science and encourage states and tribes to use the same method to assess biological condition of their waterways.
Now that her Knauss Fellowship has concluded, Pather says she’ll pursue a Ph.D. and hopes to get back into science policy as a career. Pather received her bachelors in Biological Science, with an emphasis in marine and stream biology, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and her graduate degree from University of Massachusettes, Dartmouth, in Marine Biogeochemistry.