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Our Team

Madison Willert, Ph.D.

Marine Debris Specialist
Madison Willert
Madison is the Marine Debris Specialist in the National Sea Grant Office. Her work supports the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act-funded marine debris competitions at Sea Grant.

Prior to this role, she was a joint 2023 Knauss Fellow in the National Sea Grant Office and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, where she worked to enhance coordination and communication between the two teams concerning marine debris-related activities.

Madison is a marine ecologist, and earned her PhD in 2022 at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Biological Sciences. Her PhD research investigated the long-term effects of overfishing on marine food webs using stable isotope analysis and included a three-year predoctoral research fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

During her Smithsonian fellowship, Madison analyzed specimens from the museum’s collections to evaluate anthropogenic-mediated dietary shifts in marine mesopredators over the past two hundred years. Her graduate work took her to French Polynesia, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, and Curaçao, inspiring a lifelong love for travel and marine fieldwork.

Madison holds a BA in biology from Carleton College, where she also minored in French. She is passionate about applied science and marine conservation.


Learn More About Our Work

An overhead view of a neon green chemical plume in a stream. The plume is moving from left to right and changes size and shape as it moves farther to the right.
Academia to Government

Reelin’ in the Years

In my Knauss fellowship so far, one of the most meaningful pieces of advice I’ve heard is to “think of your career as a journey, not a destination.” As the

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