Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Victoria Bell

Victoria Bell

April 23, 2015

Victoria is completing her M.A. in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute and is a 2015 IPSS fellow.

Below is a description of Victoria's 2015 IPSS fellowship at the Marine Conservation Institute in Washington D.C.

"For my IPSS I am working as the Ocean Policy Fellow for the Marine Conservation Institute in Washington, D.C. My main focus at the moment is illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and its effects on food and human security. I am the lead researcher and meet regularly with congressional staffers in both the House and the Senate to help educate them on this issue. I also write petitions weekly and provide public and written comments on a variety of marine issues. Most of my time is spent helping push IUU bills through Congress, developing educational/communication materials, helping write reports, and tracking IUU activity around the world, as well as alerting reporters to important IUU issues. I am the lead lobbyist on an upcoming hill day where people from all over the country will be coming to lobby on behalf of IUU. We plan to visit over 30 offices in one day, most of which I am in the process of scheduling. This fellowship has given me a whole new skill set I could not have learned on campus alone. The organization and leadership skills this job requires were something that MIIS prepared me for, but were taken to a new level here in D.C. I am well versed in the inter-workings of Congress and I have an intimate knowledge of the work needed to pass a bill, as well as the ability to understand various audiences and tailor talks to address individual concerns. This fellowship will prove nothing but useful in my future endeavors. I have gained on the ground knowledge of the workings on a NGO from the inside out. I believe this will be beneficial regardless of whether or not I continue to work in the NGO field later on. My understanding of politics, policy, and Congress will allow me to better connect science with policy and enable my work to relate to a wider audience. This experience has been beyond rewarding so far and I have no doubt it will continue to be so until its completion after the summer."