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Knauss Fellow Profile: Alia Hidayat

Hometown: Vancouver/Seattle WA

Area of research focus/interest: Environmental toxicology, harmful algal blooms

What are you doing during your Knauss Fellowship? I am working in the legislative branch in the office of Rep. Doris Matsui (CA). I work on the energy and environment portfolio, which covers a large range of topics, from urban forestry to estuary conservation to the clean energy transition. Day to day, I do a lot of writing, research, and meeting with stakeholders.

What has been the most positive part of being a Fellow? How about the most challenging? It is really fun to work on such a diverse portfolio and hear from various stakeholders. I love learning about all the amazing work people are doing on climate and conservation in different corners. And I love working with smart, passionate people - I feel very mentally stimulated every day and cautiously hopeful about solving some really tough environmental issues.

I think learning how things move in Congress has been an adjustment. There’s a lot of management of different interests and relationships. There are also a lot of things outside of your control, and often progress is super non-linear so you have to be quite patient.

What was the last thing you read?

Currently working on Public Citizen, but the last thing I read cover to cover was a graphic novel – Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.

Got any podcast recommendations?

For educational purposes – I really like Volts and Catalyst. For fun, My Brother, My Brother, and Me is easy, silly listening and got me through a lot of labwork and restless nights in grad school!

Who has been your inspiration? 

I don’t really have a famous person answer to this, but I often find myself admiring qualities in my friends and family and actively trying to replicate them – I’m lucky to be surrounded by kind, passionate, hard-working people that inspire me to do better in my own life!

What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited and why?

Indonesia, where my family is from! It’s got such a diverse mix of cultures and natural environments. It also has the best food of anywhere and gorgeous ecosystems.

What’s your favorite quote from a book/movie or TV show?

“Good isn’t something you are, it’s something you do” – Ms. Marvel comics

What are your plans post-fellowship?

Still figuring those out – I would like to stay in the policy world though.

What would be your number one recommendation to a younger version of your self?

Don’t worry so much about making mistakes or what other people think about you. Focus on becoming a person that you can be proud of, and everything will be just fine!

Cats or Dogs? Cats, I adopted a cat as a post-generals exam gift to myself and I love the heck out of her.