Baylor Ph.D. Candidate Earns Coveted Knauss Fellowship

March 8, 2023
Baylor Ph.D. Candidate Earns Coveted Knauss Fellowship

This February, Kendall Scarlett began as a fellow for the 2023 Knauss Fellowship Program. She is one of 84 fellows who were placed in federal government offices in Washington D.C. Scarlett is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Environmental Sciences program and, as a Knauss Fellow, she has a seat at the table concerning national policy that impacts our environment.

"This fellowship is unique in that it primarily focuses on exploring policies associated and instrumental for the appropriate management of various water resources," Scarlett said. "In other words, this fellowship allows me to take a step away from my research at Baylor and see how something like that can translate into useful policy initiatives on both the local and federal levels."

Scarlett's journey to Baylor was a special one. As she was wrapping up her master's degree, Baylor professor Dr. Bryan Brooks was a keynote speaker at a symposium she attended. After listening to his speech, she became interested in learning more and hoped to work with him at Baylor. Luckily, she got that chance. Aside from Dr. Brooks, Baylor has resources and environment that she knew she needed to be successful as a Ph.D. student.

"My research at Baylor primarily centers around understanding the impact of toxins produced from Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). HABs can be complicated to study due to varying factors (pH, temperature, species, etc.); however, we do know that nutrient (phosphorus and nitrogen) loads play a large role," Scarlett said. "Luckily, my fellowship allows me to further study and understand the importance of nutrient criteria."

As a scientist, Scarlett spent the majority of her time in the lab performing experiments, but was always curious about how results applied in the real world. In addition to her scientific pursuits, she spent her graduate school career advocating for graduate and professional students both locally and nationally through various organizations. Due to her academic and professional opportunities and accomplishments, she knew this fellowship was the perfect fit.

Growing up on the Florida coastline, Scarlett's love for the environment began at a young age. Her research on HABs surrounds how they have impacts on both environmental and human health. She hopes to continue investigating and improving ways to make overall water quality safe for all humans and wildlife.

"After I finish my Ph.D., I do hope to continue working in the federal sector in Washington, D.C. whether it be directly performing needed research, or by helping to translate important research into policy and regulations that are desperately needed on a national level," Scarlett said. "I was and am still very fortunate to have found a home at Baylor."