California Sea Grant State Fellowship

photo collage of 2022 state fellows
Funding Category
Application Deadline
Proposal Contact:

2023 California Sea Grant State Fellowship 

Program Description
Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
How to Submit an Application
Host Agencies
Past Fellows 
Position Descriptions & Host Get to Know You Videos

Timeline Highlights:

Host applications due: June 17, 2022 9AM

Fellowship Informational Webinar (register here): June 29, 2022 12-1:30PM

Fellowship applications due: July 20, 2022 5PM

Finalists selected and notified: August 29 (approximate)

California Sea Grant informational session for invited finalists: September 7, 2022 12-2PM

Finalist presentations: September 20-21, 2022

Host presentations: September 27-29, 2022

Finalists Welcome Reception & Interview Scheduling [mandatory]: October 4, 2022 1-4:30 PM

Hosts and Finalists receive finalized Interview schedules: October 5, 2022

Virtual Matching Workshop (Interviews, Office Hours & Follow Ups) [mandatory]: October 11-17, 2022

An outline of the tentative schedule can be found here


Program Description

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2023 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 ($4,292 per month).

Since the inception of this program in 1987, 281 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:

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. During a joint meeting  hosted by California Sea Grant, state fellows will interact with extension specialists and choose extension project(s) that align with their fellowship assignments or align with their training goals and 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.

Informational webinar:

There will be an optional informational webinar about this fellowship program along with application tips on Wednesday, June 29, from 12:00 pm– 1:30 pm, PST. A recording of this presentation is available below and the slides are here

*If this is your first time using Zoom, we encourage you to log in at least 5 minutes before the webinar starts, as you may need to download software and test your audio.



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, 2021 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 $51,504 for stipend and health insurance for the twelve-month assignment ($4,292/month). Additional funds of up to $2,472 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 2023 and March 2023. To ease logistical burdens and prevent delays for stipend payments, 2023 fellows are strongly encouraged to start the first 10 days of the month either in January, February, or March 2023.  The exact start date will be negotiated between the host and the fellow.


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. 
    • 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.

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:

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.

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 electronic files larger than 6 MB, contact to make other arrangements. Only PDFs are accepted.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeaGrant please contact Nick Sadrpour at

Application deadline: July 20, 2022, 5:00 PM 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 materials submitted before the deadline.


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 ( 

All position descriptions are available below 

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 a subset of 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 at a mandatory virtual Matching Workshop on October 11-13, 2021. 

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 give a brief presentation via Zoom 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 will be set up, moderated, and recorded by California Sea Grant staff in conjunction with the finalists. Hosts will be encouraged, as able, to attend finalist presentations live and given access to the finalist presentation recordings via a password protected webpage. Finalist presentations will take place September 20-21, 2022

Similarly, prior to the matching workshop, each host will give a presentation via an online video platform that provides a background of the organization and scope of the general duties of their position. We encourage all finalists, as able, to attend presentations live to gain a better understanding of the fellowship opportunities and host agencies, and ask any general questions. All presentations will be recorded and distributed to all finalists via a password protected webpage. Host presentations will take place September 27-29, 2022. All hosts will be given the full host presentation schedule and be able to view other host presentations. 

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 be responsible for providing their own calendar invite for each interview to the appropriate finalist (including 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 11-13, 2022) based on each host’s and finalist’s respective schedule. After the interviews take place, each finalist will submit their top 5 hosts to California Sea Grant in an unranked list. 

Office Hours

On the final day of the interviews (October 13, 2022), each host will set up and hold a one hour block of office hours between 4-6pm PST. These one hour blocks are informal and unstructured to allow all finalists access for additional questions and discussion with any host. Immediately following the office hours, California Sea Grant will send each host a list of finalists that included that host in their top 5. 

Follow Ups

By Friday, October 14, 2022 at 11am PST, hosts will submit to California Sea Grant a list of no more than 5 finalists they wish to follow up with on Monday, October 17, 2022 from 12-3pm PST. California Sea Grant will send each host their schedule for follow ups. California Sea Grant will host the follow-ups on a Zoom call with breakout rooms for each host. These short, 15 min discussions should not be structured or utilized as an additional interview, nor 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 6pm on Monday October 17. California Sea Grant will use a matching algorithm to match each host and finalist. 

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

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

April: Host applications opened

May: Request for fellowship applications opened

June 17 9AM: Host applications due

June 23 (approximate): Accepted host agencies notified; tentative host positions posted on California Sea Grant website

June 29 12-1:30: State Fellow Informational Webinar

July 11: Deadline for host budget commitment letters

July 14 (approximate): Final host positions posted on California Sea Grant website

July 20 5PM: Fellowship applications due

July 25-August 26 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists 

August 29 (approximate): Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts

September 7: 12-2 PM California Sea Grant informational session for invited finalists

September 20-21: Finalist presentations

September 27-29: Host presentations 

October 4 1-4:30 PM: Finalists interview scheduling and welcome reception 

October 5: California Sea Grant sends Hosts and Finalists their finalized interview schedules

October 5-6: Hosts distribute interview information to finalists

October 11-13: MANDATORY virtual matching workshop/interviews  (An outline of the schedule can be found here)

October 13, 4-6pm Host Office Hours (Full schedule details will be shared)

October 17, 12-3pm Follow Ups

October 17, 6pm Rankings Due

Late October: Fellowship matches announced

January 2023 - March 2023: Fellowships begin



For additional information about the State Fellows program (or other fellowship opportunities:, please contact:

Nick Sadrpour
Program Coordinator


Past Fellowship Experiences 

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


POSITION DESCRIPTIONS & host 'get to know you' videos

Note: Hosts were not required to submit a Get to Know You Video. Therefore, not all positions listed below will have a video.

All 2023 State Fellowship Position Descriptions

California Coastal Commission:

California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks):

California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) - District 1 - 2 Positions:

California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) - District 4:

California Fish and Game Commission:

California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) - 2 Positions:

California Ocean Science Trust (OST):

California State Coastal Conservancy:

California State Lands Commission - 2 Positions:

Delta Science Program - 4 Positions:

Delta Stewardship Council - Planning and Performance Division:

Monterey Bay Aquarium:

NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary:

NOAA Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR):

NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center:

Port of San Diego - 2 Positions:

San Francisco Estuary Partnership - 2 Positions:

State Water Contractors:

State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality, Sustainable Water Plans and Policies:

State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality: Ocean Standards Unit:

State Water Resources Control Board - Office of Information Management and Analysis: