2025 California Sea Grant State Fellowship

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2024 State Fellows
Funding Category
Fellowships
Application Deadline
Proposal Contact: sgproposal@ucsd.edu

 

 

 

APPLY TO BE A CALIFORNIA SEA GRANT STATE FELLOW

Timeline Highlights
New This Year
Program Description
Eligibility
Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
How to Submit an Application
Application
Evaluation Criteria
Virtual Matching Process
Hosts
Past Fellows
Timeline
Contact


Timeline Highlights:

All times listed in Pacific Time (PT)

  • Fellowship Informational Webinar: May 15, 2024 12–2PM PT 
  • Host applications due: May 31, 2024 5PM PT
  • Fellowship applications due: June 14, 2024 5PM PT 
  • California Sea Grant informational session for invited finalists: July 31, 2024 12–2PM PT
  • Finalist presentations due: August 9, 2024 5PM PT
  • Prep Week: August 26–30, 2024
  • MANDATORY Finalists Interview Scheduling Event: September 4, 2024 1–5PM PT
  • MANDATORY Matching Workshop (virtual): September 16–23, 2024 (see full schedule below)

NEW THIS YEAR

TIME FRAME

California Sea Grant has shifted the State Fellowship pre-award timeframe up by one month to provide additional time for host agencies to finalize funding agreements prior to fellowship start dates. 

FINALIST COMMITMENT

This year, we will be asking finalists to agree to a “finalist commitment” understanding between California Sea Grant and selected state finalists. This commitment is to work towards a shared understanding of expectations and time in being selected as a State Fellowship Finalist. Please see the Finalist Commitment section below for more details.


Program Description

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2025 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, as well as research and conservation organizations in California with mandates in coastal or marine research, policy, or management for a 12-month paid fellowship stipend + health insurance ($5,052 per month).

Since the inception of this program in 1987, 328 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.

Informational Webinar


Eligibility

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, 2023 are also eligible to apply. Fellows must complete all degree requirements before starting the fellowship. State Fellows may be expected to relocate to the region where their host office is located.

When considering applying for this fellowship, please keep in mind that if you are only interested in being placed with five or less host agency positions, then this might not be the right opportunity for you. Matching with a particular host agency is not guaranteed. Each host agency can offer an enriching fellowship opportunity, thus an open mindset is important in being successful through the matching process. 

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 $60,624 for stipend and health insurance for the twelve-month assignment ($5,052/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 2025 and March 2025. To ease logistical burdens and prevent delays for stipend payments, 2025 fellows are strongly encouraged to start the first 10 days of the month either in January, February, or March 2025.  The exact start date will be negotiated between the host and the fellow. Exceptions will not be made for start dates beyond March 2025.

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. 


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 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: 2025 State Fellowship”. If you have already started an application and wish to edit it, click on the hyperlink for that application instead. 

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

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

Submitted fellowship applications will be  screened for appropriate application requirements including 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. Applications missing any requirements will not be considered.

Application deadline: June 14, 2024, 5PM PT

NOTE: THE ESEAGRANT PROPOSAL PORTAL WILL CLOSE AT THE DATE AND TIME STATED ABOVE, AND LATE APPLICATIONS (EVEN 1 MINUTE LATE) CANNOT BE ACCEPTED. IT IS THE APPLICANT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO GET ALL REQUIRED MATERIALS SUBMITTED BEFORE THE DEADLINE. WE ADVISE TO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION; WHEN ESEAGRANT EXPERIENCES HIGH USER TRAFFIC, YOU MAY EXPERIENCE PAGE LOADING DELAYS.


Application

A complete application will include:

  • Personal and academic curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages using 12-point font).
  • A personal education and career development 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)
    • Why the applicant wants to be a California Sea Grant State Fellow with a specific focus on how this fellowship supports the student’s career pathway and what the applicant hopes to get out of the experience.
    • What experiences and transferable skills (skills that can be applied across a variety of disciplines) would the applicant bring to the California Sea Grant State Fellowship from their personal, professional and academic background.
    • Describe a situation in which the applicant overcame a challenge (e.g. within a community or institution, personally, professionally, etc.) specifically as it relates to how they took a leadership role and what they learned from the experience.
    • Describe 1) a situation in which the applicant worked with a person or group with different perspectives, life experiences, beliefs, etc. from their own to achieve a common goal, and/or 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.

Submitted fellowship applications will be screened for appropriate application requirements including 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. Applications missing any requirements will not be considered.

*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


Evaluation Criteria

EVALUATION AREA

COMPONENTS

POINTS

Relevant Experience

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

10

Personal Education and Career Development Statement

65

Recommendations

Letters of Recommendation

10 (5 each)

Academic Ability

Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts

10

Overall Application Cohesion

All Components

5

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: 

Curriculum Vitae (10%): The student has employment, volunteer, or extracurricular activities in academic, applied, research, administration, outreach, or policy positions; The education and experience (personal and professional) in the student’s area of expertise are appropriate to the career stage; The student demonstrates academic, professional or personal experiences that are relevant and applicable to serving Californians; The student’s experiences show prior leadership roles relevant to their career stage (e.g., student government, faculty committees, advisory committees, professional societies, community initiatives, etc.).

Personal Education and Career Development Response (65%):

  • Ice Breaker (5%) - The student demonstrates creative thinking and a willingness to think outside the box
  • Career Path and Objectives (30%) - The student clearly links experiences to the ocean or coasts. The student demonstrates their ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts, creative thinking, analytical skills, and/or indicates their capacity and willingness to make connections between science and broader economic, social, and political issues. The student demonstrates an understanding of the State Fellowship program and personal and professional background/goals. The student is specific, direct, concise while discussing what they would bring to and gain from the State Fellowship. The skill set demonstrated will provide a foundation for success; the student is specific, direct, and concise while discussing the skills they have cultivated throughout their academic and professional career.
  • Career Path Experience (30%) - The student demonstrates an interest in contributing to public programs or service; experiences in public service, including, but not limited to volunteering, leadership, extension or education experiences. These do not have to be directly related to the mission of CASG. The student demonstrates creativity and willingness to navigate a challenging situation, leadership, and problem solving initiative. The student has shown interest in working with a variety of collaborators, community members and/or interested partners. 

Letters of Recommendation (10%): The letter writers demonstrate knowledge of the student and their abilities, speak to the leadership potential, confidence, maturity, and self-direction of the student, provide evidence of the student's willingness and flexibility to tackle issues beyond their area of expertise and an openness and capacity to expand experiences. The letter writers provide evidence of the student's ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts.

Academic Ability (10%): The undergraduate and graduate transcripts demonstrate the applicant's coursework in academic, applied, research, administration, outreach, or policy. 

Overall Application Cohesion (5%): Consider all aspects of the application materials (CV, Personal education and career development statement, Letters of Recommendation, undergraduate and graduate transcripts). The application materials complement each other; The student brings diverse perspectives to the program, the application materials provide a clear picture of what the student would gain, and bring to, from receiving the State Fellowship.

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.

FINALIST COMMITMENT

Applicants will be notified by approximately July 26, 2024 if they have been selected as a California Sea Grant State Fellowship Finalist. Applicants may also be placed on a waitlist. California Sea Grant wants to ensure that we are able to provide this unique educational opportunity to as many deserving applicants as possible, which includes ensuring that selected finalists are committed to the entire matching and placement process. Selected finalists will be asked to review a commitment letter outlining the expectations of finalists, host agencies, and California Sea Grant moving forward in the matching process; by signing the commitment letter, selected finalists will officially accept their position as a finalist and proceed through the matching process. Finalists are not guaranteed to be matched with a host agency, however, it is important to be committed to the matching process as the odds of being matched are high.

Presentations

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 August 9, 2024. 

Prep Week

During Prep Week (August 26–30), there will be Host Office Hours for finalists and a Matching Workshop Social Mixer (Virtual).

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 Matching Workshop Social Mixer (virtual) 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 an Interview Scheduling Event for finalists to sign-up for their own interview spots. Each finalist will be required to select a minimum of 10 interviews. Following the Interview Scheduling Event, each finalist and host agency 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. 

Interviews

The Matching Workshop interviews will take place over the course of the 2.5 days (September 16–18, 2024) 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 September 19, 2024.

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

Follow Ups

Hosts submit by Thursday, September 19 at 5PM PT to California Sea Grant a list of no more than 5 finalists they wish to follow up with on Monday, September 23, 2024. 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, are to provide more information to the host office and clarify any lingering questions from the initial interview. More details and guidance will be shared with selected hosts and invited finalists.

Ranking

Both hosts and finalists will submit a numerically ranked list by 5PM PT on Monday September 23, 2024. California Sea Grant will use a matching algorithm to match each host and finalist. Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed. However, all fellowship positions are great opportunities for enriching professional development. At this stage in the process, finalists are expected to accept a match with any fellowship position that they placed on their final ranking list.

Finalists invited to the matching workshop are not guaranteed a fellowship. 

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


Hosts

The California Sea Grant State Fellowship program solicits applications from host offices annually to host State Fellows, including municipal, state and federal agencies, as well as research and conservation organizations in California with mandates in coastal or marine research, policy, or management.

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 webpages as a gauge of possible host opportunities (https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/students/fellowship-alumni). 

When considering applying for this fellowship, please keep in mind that if you are only interested in being placed with five or less host agency positions, then this might not be the right opportunity for you. Matching with a particular host agency is not guaranteed. Each host agency can offer an enriching fellowship opportunity, thus an open mindset is important in being successful through the matching process.


Past Fellows

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


Timeline

California Sea Grant strongly encourages all prospective applicants to review the complete schedule and place appropriate holds on their calendars early. 

All times listed in Pacific Time (PT)

 

April 10, 2024: Call for Host applications opened

April 12, 2024: Request for Fellowship Applications opens

May 15, 2024 12–2PM: State Fellow Informational Webinar (for prospective fellowship applicants) (register here

May 31, 2024 5PM: Call for Host applications due

June 4, 2024 (approximate): Accepted host agencies notified; tentative host positions posted on California Sea Grant website; accepted hosts are sent 

June 10, 2024 (approximate): Final host positions posted on California Sea Grant website

June 14, 2024 5PM: Request for Fellowship applications due

June 20–July 25, 2024 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists 

July 24, 2024: Host Presentation & “Get to Know You” Video Recordings Due

July 26, 2024: Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts

July 29–August 30, 2024: Matching Workshop Prep: Watch Finalists Presentation Recordings; Read Finalists Applications 

July 31, 2024 12–2PM: California Sea Grant informational session for invited finalists

August 9, 2024: Finalist presentations due

August 26–30, 2024: Prep Week: Host Office Hours for Finalists, Matching Workshop Social Mixer (virtual)

September 4, 2024 1–5PM: MANDATORY Interview Scheduling Event

September 5–13, 2024: California Sea Grant and Hosts finalize and distribute interview schedule

September 16–23, 2024: MANDATORY Virtual Matching Workshop. An outline of the schedule can be found here.

  • September 16–18, 2024: Hosts/Finalists Interviews     

  • September 19, 2024 5PM: Host Follow-Up Lists Due

  • September 20, 2024 5PM: Hosts send Follow-Up Invites to Finalists

  • September 23, 2024 9AM–1PM: Follow-Ups

  • September 23, 2024 5PM: Rankings Due

September 24–October 4: California Sea Grant Matching (as needed)

October 7, 2024: Fellowship matches announced

By Dec 2024: Host offices finalize funding agreements

January–March 2025: Fellowship begins


CONTACT

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 

sgproposal@ucsd.edu


POSITION DESCRIPTIONS

Participating hosts for the 2025 class will be posted here June 10, 2024 (approximate)