Q & A with Emilie Franke

Why did you decide to pursue a Master of Marine Affairs?

After working in fisheries and ecosystem management for four years, I knew I wanted to stay in the marine policy field, but I needed a Master’s degree to advance my career. I wanted a graduate program that focused on the intersection of science and policy and that would expand my knowledge of the field. As someone who spent several years on the East Coast, I also viewed graduate school as an opportunity to experience the West Coast.

Why did you decide to come to UW’s SMEA for graduate school?

SMEA was exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program. It is focused on preparing students for their professional careers and has strong faculty and research in multiple aspects of marine affairs, including fisheries management, climate change, policy development/analysis, marine tourism…the list goes on. SMEA really provides an unparalleled range of expertise and faculty experience in marine affairs. SMEA also provides the flexibility to take classes in other UW departments, especially in your second year, and I have been able to take multiple fisheries classes and specific skills classes, like GIS.

Are you doing a thesis or capstone project? If thesis, what are you writing your thesis about and why? If capstone, what is the project about? 

I am doing a capstone project with four other people in my cohort. We are evaluating a specific part of the West Coast Groundfish fishery management program and we have the opportunity to work with NOAA, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, fishermen, and many others.

What has been your favorite class at UW so far? Why?

My favorite classes have been U.S. Coastal & Ocean Law with SMEA Professor Ryan Kelly and Natural Resource Economics with Fisheries Professor Chris Anderson. Both classes really challenged me to think about the outcomes of current policies and how they affect people and natural resources in the marine environment. Both professors are extremely engaging, and I definitely recommend both classes.

What do you like most about SMEA?

As many others have said, my favorite part is definitely my classmates. Everyone came to SMEA with a unique background and experience and I have undoubtedly learned the most from them. Working with them is truly motivating and inspiring, and I can’t wait to see where everyone ends up after the program. Not everyone can say that graduate school has led to lifelong friends (and likely future colleagues).

What’s it like to live in Seattle? What do you do in your spare time?

I grew up in a big city, so I was very excited to move to Seattle! It’s a great city with so many unique neighborhoods (and breweries) that I’ve been exploring. As someone new to the Pacific Northwest, I take every chance I can to be outside, whether hiking, kayaking, or running somewhere new on the weekends.

If you could design your ultimate job after graduating, what would it be and why?

I’m still figuring this out, but my ideal job would be managing a specific marine resource or coastal area, both providing recommendations based on policy/data analysis and working with a team to implement management decisions.

What is your favorite form of marine life, and why?

Tough question. My current favorite is sockeye salmon. Their life history and their economic and cultural significance is pretty amazing.