NOAA Marine Debris Program - California Sea Grant Extension Fellowship

Application Deadline: January 29, 2020

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the NOAA Marine Debris Program - California Sea Grant Extension Fellowship. Part of the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, the Marine Debris Program (MDP) mission is to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris. The MDP has a California Regional Coordinator based in Oakland who supports local marine debris initiatives through coordination across the state, guides implementation of the California Ocean Litter Strategy (OLS), and identifies and addresses the needs of the marine debris community. The Marine Debris Extension Fellow will support the MDP’s work in California and assist the MDP and the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) with the implementation of the OLS.

The extension fellow will be mentored by the MDP California Regional Coordinator and become part of a dynamic team of California Sea Grant extension specialists. Extension specialists work with state and federal agencies, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and members of the California coastal community to identify emerging marine resource problems and opportunities, conduct applied scientific research, and share findings with stakeholder groups. The extension team has the expertise and resources to work with, support, and connect the extension fellow to appropriate stakeholders based on the project (i.e. fishing community, researchers, K-12 educators). California Sea Grant also has several extension specialists working directly on marine debris issues.

Application Deadline: January 29, 2020, 5:00 PM PST

Fellowship Objectives
Stipend and Expenses
Length and Location of Assignment
How to Submit an Application

Fellowship Objectives

The extension fellow will assist in making tangible and quantifiable progress towards accomplishing actions identified in the statewide OLS . A primary initial function of the fellowship will be to assist the MDP and OPC with hosting the June 24-25, 2020, OLS stakeholder workshop. This will include assisting with workshop planning and preparation (e.g., meeting logistics and compiling progress updates on OLS actions), facilitation, and follow-up (e.g., developing an interim report on OLS progress and next steps). The workshop will be attended by a diverse, cross-sector group of CA marine debris stakeholders interested in continuing momentum on implementing the OLS.

In addition to supporting the overall implementation of the OLS, the fellow can advance one or more specific OLS Action Items and related California Sea Grant interests, depending on interest and expertise. The advancement of OLS Action Items may include projects to assess the effectiveness of ocean litter policies, compile case studies on marine debris prevention, develop outreach and communication strategies, address specific debris types, work with marine debris datasets, and expand education programs. Advancement of related California Sea Grant interests may include taking a lead role in the development of California Sea Grant’s marine debris research priorities, assistance with existing extension marine debris projects, or development of communication products with the California Sea Grant communication team. 

As an integrated member of the MDP team the fellow will have the flexibility to pursue achievements on multiple diverse projects. As time allows, the fellow will have the opportunity to work across the programs and regions of the Marine Debris Program, depending on their expertise and interests. Potential additional opportunities include:

  • Support NOAA’s Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project
  • Contribute to the development of the MDP’s next strategic plan
  • Lead regional outreach and education initiatives
  • Participate on the California Water Quality Monitoring Council / Trash Monitoring Workgroup
  • Provide support to projects in other regions as needed

Some tasks will be self-guided, others will be performed in close coordination with MDP staff. The fellow will be a part of a small, close-knit team and based in a dynamic office in downtown Oakland shared with representatives from other parts of NOAA. Growth in skills can be expected through workshop planning and facilitation, project management, coordination of multiple partners across various sectors, and exposure to a small Federal program mandated to lead the nation’s efforts to address marine debris.


Applications may be submitted by a graduate student close to completing their degree (Masters, Ph.D., or J.D) in a field in or related to materials science, environmental science, human ecology, conservation, management, public policy, or law of marine, coastal, and/or watershed environments at any accredited U.S. institution of higher education. Graduate students who recently completed their degree at any accredited U.S. institution of higher education with graduation date [i.e. the date the degree was awarded by the university] after May 1, 2018 are also eligible to apply. The Fellow must complete all degree requirements before starting the fellowship.

Sea Grant is committed to increasing the diversity of the Sea Grant workforce and of the communities we serve.  Sea Grant embraces individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, job classifications, veteran status types, and income, and socioeconomic status types. Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking.

Stipend and Expenses

The fellow will receive $100,800 in stipend for the 24-month assignment ($4,200/month). Additional funds will be available for health insurance reimbursement ($260/month) and to cover fellowship related travel ($6,000/year).

Length and Location of Assignment

The length of the assignment is 24 months (non-renewable) beginning on April 1, 2020. The fellowship is located in Oakland, California.


A complete application will include:

  • Resume/curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages using 12-point font)
  • A personal education and career goal statement that emphasizes the applicant's abilities and interest in a field related to materials science, environmental science, human ecology, conservation, management, public policy, or law of marine, coastal, and/or watershed environments, and the applicant's expectations of the career development experience (1,000 words or less)
  • Two letters of professional recommendation, including one from the student's major professor. If no major professor exists, the faculty member who is most familiar with the applicant academically may be substituted
  • Copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts. Unofficial copies will be accepted

How to Submit an Application

The electronic files comprising your application must be submitted as PDFs using eSeaGrant, California Sea Grant’s online submission portal.

Apply Now

You may  need to register for an account (click on the banner labeled “Register”) in eSeaGrant if you have not done so in the past year. You can change the randomly generated password once you log in successfully into the website. To apply for this fellowship, follow eSeaGrant instructions specific for this opportunity.

Please make sure to include your last name in the file names for each section of the proposal (e.g., Smith_statement.pdf or Smith_cv.pdf). When naming the document please do not use apostrophes. Once submitted through the website, PDFs may not be edited. To change a PDF, it must be deleted and resubmitted.

IMPORTANT: To maintain confidentiality, letters of recommendation may be submitted directly from the referee to California Sea Grant through eSeaGrant and must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered. Letters may also be emailed to Please address letters to Dr. Shauna Oh, Director, California Sea Grant. Late submissions may lead to the rejection of incomplete applications. Candidates are encouraged to work with referees to meet the deadline. 

For electronic files larger than 6 MB, contact to make other arrangements.

Only Acrobat documents (pdf) are accepted.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeaGrant please contact Miho Ligare at or (858) 534-1160.


Selection of the finalists is made by staff of the California Sea Grant College Program and the NOAA MDP based upon review of written application materials and interviews (in person, Zoom, or phone) of a subset of applicants. Selection criteria used by California Sea Grant include: academic ability, writing and communication skills, diversity and appropriateness of academic background and experience, career goals, additional qualifying experience, and support of referees. 

Please note that California Sea Grant will not cover expenses incurred during interviews since traveling is not required to interview.


  • January 29, 2020: Fellowship applications due
  • Early February: NOAA MDP and California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications
  • Late February: Interviews
  • Early March: Candidate notified
  • April 1, 2020: Fellowship begins


For additional information about the NOAA MDP-California Sea Grant Marine Debris Extension Fellowship, please contact:

Miho Ligare
Research & Fellowship Coordinator
(858) 534-1160