2024 California Sea Grant State Fellowship

2023 California State Fellows
Funding Category
Application Deadline
Proposal Contact: sgproposal@ucsd.edu

2024 California Sea Grant State Fellowship 

Program Description
Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
How to Submit an Application
Finalist and Fellow Selection
Virtual Matching Process
Past Fellows


Timeline Highlights:

All times listed in Pacific Time (PT). 

Host applications due: June 15, 2023 5PM

Fellowship Informational Webinar: June 28, 2023 12-1:30PM 

Fellowship applications due: July 19, 2023 5PM: 

California Sea Grant informational session for invited finalists: August 31, 2023 12-2PM

Finalist presentations due: September 13, 2023

Finalists Interview Scheduling: October 4, 2023 1-5 PM

Mandatory Matching Workshop (virtual): October 16-23 (see full schedule below)


Program Description

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2024 California State Fellowship Program. The State Fellowship Program provides a unique educational opportunity for graduate students who are interested in marine, coastal, and/or watershed resources and in the decisions affecting those resources in California. Modeled after the highly successful Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, the State Fellowship Program provides an opportunity to acquire "hands-on" experience in the planning, implementation and management of marine, coastal, and/or watershed resource policies and programs in the state of California. The program matches highly motivated and outstanding graduate students (near completion of degree or recently completed) with "hosts" in municipal, state or federal agencies in California for a 12-month paid fellowship stipend + health insurance ($4,978 per month).

Since the inception of this program in 1987, 308 graduate students and recent graduates have been successfully placed in a variety of municipal, state, and federal agencies that address California coastal and marine resource issues. This fellowship program has helped jump-start the careers of coastal and marine policy professionals. You can read about current and past state fellows here: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/students/fellowship-alumni.

Extension Project Opportunity

Starting in 2020, California Sea Grant State Fellows have participated in Extension Projects with California Sea Grant Extension Specialists. These projects are meant to be collaborative opportunities offered to enhance the fellowship experience. Over the course of the twelve-month fellowship, there will also be an opportunity for the state fellow to engage with the California Sea Grant Extension program. California Sea Grant extension specialists work with state and federal agencies, 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. After meeting with our extension specialists, state fellows will choose extension project/s that align with their fellowship assignments or align with their professional and career interests. Fellows are anticipated to contribute no more than two months spread out over the year on these extension projects. As each extension specialist, project, fellowship position, and individual fellow is different California Sea Grant will provide flexibility as best possible to create organic collaborative opportunities through the extension projects for state fellows. California Sea Grant will encourage fellow participation in Extension Projects, but these are not mandatory for a fellow. 

Informational Webinar



Applications may be submitted by a graduate student close to completing a degree (Masters, Ph.D., or J.D) in a field related to conservation, management, protection, stewardship, public policy, or law of marine, coastal, and/or watershed environments, or areas that impact those environments, at a California university. Graduate students who recently completed their degree at a California university with a graduation date [i.e. date the degree was awarded by the university] after May 1, 2022 are also eligible to apply.  Fellows 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, 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

Each fellow will receive $56,100 for stipend and health insurance for the twelve-month assignment ($4,978/month). Additional funds of up to $2,500 can be reimbursed to cover travel for any California Sea Grant coordinated state fellow in-person meeting and other fellowship related travel. Additional travel associated with the fellowship may be covered by the host agency at the agency’s discretion.

Length of Assignment

The length of assignment is 12 months. The fellowship will begin in early winter between January 2024 and March 2024. To ease logistical burdens and prevent delays for stipend payments, 2024 fellows are strongly encouraged to start the first 10 days of the month either in January, February, or March 2024.  The exact start date will be negotiated between the host and the fellow..

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: https://eseagrant2.ucsd.edu/

You will 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.

To start an application in eSeaGrant, or revisit/edit an existing application, click on “Current Tasks” in your eSeaGrant dashboard. To start a new application, click on “Add Fellowship Application” under “Fellowship Applications: 2024 State Fellowship”. If you have already started an application and wish to edit it, click on the hyperlink for that application instead. 

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. 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. 

Please ensure electronic files are no larger than 6 MB. Only PDFs are accepted.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeaGrant please contact Delanie Medina at sgproposal@ucsd.edu.

Fellowship applications are submitted to California Sea Grant (via the online application system eSeaGrant) and screened for appropriate academic background, employment history, career and education goals, community and extracurricular activities, interest in the fellowship, and for professional skills such as initiative, leadership, adaptability, communication and analytical skills. 

Application deadline: July 19, 2023, 5:00 PM PT



A complete application will include:

  • Personal and academic 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 interests, and the applicant's expectations of the career development experience (1,000 words or less). The statement should include the following: 
    • Ice Breaker: At the top of the personal statement, each applicant should provide answers to two icebreakers: 
      • The applicant should use one sentence to describe themselves.
      • The applicant should list five adjectives that someone with a close personal connection (coworker, supervisor, etc.) would use to describe them. (5 words maximum)
    • Information about why the applicant wants to be a California Sea Grant State Fellow and what the applicant hopes to get out of the experience. This should focus on the applicant's personal career goals and fellowship interest.
    • One to two paragraphs of the statement should illustrate 1) the applicant's experience collaborating or engaging with people from diverse, including underserved, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and 2) how the applicant would incorporate principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and/or accessibility into their fellowship.
  • 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.

*Personal information (birth dates, addresses, student ID numbers, social security numbers, etc.) must be redacted from all application materials before it is submitted through eSeaGrant


To allow for a broad fellowship applicant pool, applications for the fellowship will be open while hosts are finalized. California Sea Grant recommends that prospective fellowship applicants look at previous years' fellowship pages as a gauge of possible host opportunities (https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/students/fellowship-alumni).

Finalist and fellow selection

Selection of finalists is made by California Sea Grant staff and alumni of the State Fellowship based upon review of written application materials and interviews (via Zoom and/or phone) of high-scoring applicants. Selection criteria for finalists used by California Sea Grant include: 

Diversity/Appropriateness of Experience (30%)

The applicant has employment, volunteer, or extracurricular activities in relevant academic, applied, research, administration outreach, or policy positions. The experience in the applicant’s area of expertise is appropriate to the career stage.

Statement/Communication Skills (30%)

The ice breaker and goal statement are specific, direct, and concise while discussing what the applicant would bring to and gain from the fellowship and clearly articulates a career or life goal. The ice breaker and goal statement provide evidence of creative thinking, analytical skill, and/or indicate the applicant’s capacity and willingness to make connections between science and broader economic, social, and political issues. The goal statement demonstrates the applicant’s ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts and can also illustrate the applicant's experience collaborating or engaging with people from diverse, including underserved, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and how the applicant plans to meaningfully incorporate principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and/or accessibility into their fellowship.

Additional Qualifying Experience (10%)

The applicant has received relevant honors and awards; has shown dedication to working with diverse, including underserved, stakeholders; and their experience demonstrates a commitment to apply scientific expertise to serve society. The applicant’s experiences show prior leadership roles relevant to their career stage (e.g., student government, faculty committees, advisory committees, professional societies, community initiatives, etc.).

Academic Ability (10%)

The education and experience in the applicant’s area of expertise are appropriate to the career stage and the applicant displays strength in academic performance. Records of publications and/or presentations are appropriate to the career stage, field, and institutional setting.

Letters of Recommendation (20%)

Letters demonstrate: 1) knowledge of the applicant and their abilities and speak to the leadership potential, confidence, maturity, and self-direction of the applicant; 2) evidence of the applicant’s willingness and flexibility to tackle issues beyond their area of expertise and an openness and capacity to expand experience; 3) evidence of the applicant’s creative thinking, analytical skill, and ability to translate abstract concepts; and 4) evidence of the applicant’s ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, nonscientific contexts.

Selected finalists will be guided through a matching process with host agencies, described below

Applicants please note:

  • Finalists invited to the matching workshop are not guaranteed a fellowship.
  • California Sea Grant cannot guarantee that a finalist will have an interview with a particular host.
  • Placement of a fellow with a prospective host office is not guaranteed.

Virtual Matching Process

The dates and times shown below are subject to change. Any adjustments to the schedule will be communicated to all finalists and hosts.


Prior to the matching workshop, each finalist will provide a pre-recorded presentation that demonstrates their personality and interests, what they hope to get out of the fellowship experience, and what skills and experiences they will bring to this opportunity. Each presentation should not exceed 5 minutes. Hosts will be provided access to a folder of all finalists pre-recorded presentations. Finalist presentation recordings due September 13, 2023

Prep Week

During Prep Week (September 25-29), there will be asynchronous and synchronous virtual activities planned to help finalists and hosts interact with one another and inform interview scheduling. 

Each host will submit a pre-recorded presentation and optional “Get to Know You” video that provides a background of the organization and scope of the general duties of their position. During Prep Week, we encourage all finalists to watch host presentations and “Get to Know You” videos to gain a better understanding of the fellowship opportunities and host agencies. All presentations will be accessible in a folder shared with Finalists. 

During Prep Week, host agencies will have Q&A Office Hours to allow finalists to ask any questions they may have after reviewing host presentations. Additionally, a Welcome Mixer will be held to provide host agencies and finalists a more informal and interactive platform to meet.

Interview Scheduling 

Based on the host’s interview availability/schedule, California Sea Grant will facilitate a round robin activity for finalists to select their own interview schedules. Each finalist will be required to select a minimum of 10 interviews. Following the round robin activity, each finalist and each host will have their own interview schedule sheet. Each host will then provide their own calendar invite for each interview to the appropriate finalist and include a link to a virtual conference platform for holding interviews. 


The matching workshop interviews will take place over the course of the 2.5 days (October 16-18, 2023) based on each host’s and finalist’s respective schedule. After the interviews take place, each finalist will submit their top 5 positions to California Sea Grant in an unranked list. California Sea Grant will send each host a list of finalists that included their position in their top 5 on the morning of October 19th.

California Sea Grant cannot guarantee that a finalist will have an interview with a particular host. 

Follow Ups

Hosts submit by Thursday, October 19th at 5PM PT to California Sea Grant a list of no more than 5 finalists they wish to follow up with on Monday, October 23 . California Sea Grant will send each host their schedule for follow ups. Each host will then provide their own calendar invite to the appropriate finalist and include a link to a virtual conference platform for holding follow up conversations. These short, 15 minute discussions should not be structured or utilized as an additional interview. They should not be used as an opportunity to discuss ranking (i.e. offering your rank or asking about the rank of someone else). More details and guidance will be shared with selected hosts and invited finalists.


Both hosts and finalists will submit a numerically ranked list by 5PM PT on Monday October 23. California Sea Grant will use a matching algorithm to match each host and finalist. 

A full detailed remote matching workshop schedule will be finalized and made available to finalists in the near future.  An outline of the schedule can be found here.

Finalists invited to the matching workshop are not guaranteed a fellowship. Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed. 

Additional details on the matching process will be made available once finalists and hosts are confirmed.

Past Fellows

Read the articles and previous fellow announcements to learn more about program alumni and their agency placements and experiences.


California Sea Grant strongly encourages all prospective applicants to review the complete schedule and place appropriate holds on their calendars early. All times listed below are in Pacific Standard Time.

May: Host applications opened

May: Request for fellowship applications opened

June 15, 2023 5PM: Host applications due

June 22 (approximate): Accepted host agencies notified; tentative host positions posted on California Sea Grant website

June 28, 12-1:30PM: State Fellow Informational Webinar (for prospective fellowship applicants) (register here

July 19, 2023 5PM: Fellowship applications due

August 28 (approximate): Finalists selected and notified

August 31, 12-2PM: California Sea Grant informational session for invited finalists

September 13, 2023: Finalist presentations due

September 25-29: Prep Week: Watch Host presentation recordings & Get to Know You Video Recordings, Attend Q&A Office Hours for Finalists, Welcome Mixer

October 4, 2023 1-5 PM: Finalists Interview Scheduling and Welcome Reception

October 16-23: MANDATORY: Virtual Matching Workshop An outline of the tentative schedule can be found here

October 16-18: Interviews 

October 18, 8PM: Finalists top 10 list due

October 23, 9AM-1PM Follow-ups

October 25 (approximate): Fellowship matches announced

January 2024-March 2024: Fellowship begins



For additional information about the State Fellows program (or other fellowship opportunities: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/students/fellowships), please contact:

Delanie Medina 
Fellowship Program Coordinator 




Participating hosts for the 2024 class (full position list here). 

  • San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP)- Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program Team
  • San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP)- The Priority Conservation Area
  • California Coastal Commission (CCC)
  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS)
  • Port of San Diego (POSD)- Environmental Conservation Department
  • Ocean Protection Council (OPC)- Climate Change
  • Ocean Protection Council (OPC)- Marine Biodiversity
  • Delta Stewardship Council (DSC)- Planning and Performance Division
  • Delta Stewardship Program (DSP)- Communication and Synthesis Unit
  • Delta Stewardship Program (DSP)- Collaborative Science and Peer Review unit
  • Delta Stewardship Program (DSP)- Adaptive Management Unit and Independent Science Board Support
  • Delta Stewardship Program (DSP)- Research Funding Team
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA)- Community Engagement
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA)- Education
  • State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)- Office of Information Management and Analysis (OIMA)
  • State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)- Division of Water Quality- Ocean Standards Unit
  • State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)- Division of Water Quality- Seawater Desalination Unit
  • San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)- Planning
  • San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)- Sediment Management
  • NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS)
  • California Fish and Game Commission (FGC)
  • California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC)- Bay Restoration