Call for Host Applications: State Fellowship Program 2024

Funding Category
Application Deadline
California State Capitol












Interested in becoming a Host Office?

Program Description
Extension Project Opportunity
Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
Host Application
Host Selection
Virtual Matching Process

Timeline Highlights: 

Host applications due: June 15, 2023 5PM
Final host budget commitments due: July 10, 2023
Fellowship applications due: July 19, 2023
Prep Week -  Host and finalist presentations, Q&A and Welcome Mixer: September 25-29
MANDATORY Matching Workshop (virtual): October 16-23 (see full schedule below)

Program Description

The California Sea Grant State Fellowship Program provides a unique educational and professional opportunity for graduate students who are interested in coastal and marine resources in California, and the policy decisions affecting those resources. Modeled after the highly successful national Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, the State Fellowship Program is designed to provide recent graduates an opportunity to acquire "hands-on" experience in the planning and implementation of coastal and marine 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. The fellowship program serves to both increase the capacity of ocean and coastal management agencies in California with highly motivated and talented graduate students, and to facilitate the training and development of the next generation of ocean and coastal leaders.

Since the inception of this program in 1987, 308 graduate students and recent graduates have been successfully placed in a variety of local, 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 at

Prospective hosts will provide an educational opportunity to fellows who will, in turn, provide substantial professional contributions to the office. Hosts are expected to supervise, mentor and provide opportunities for fellows to be involved in substantive issues that support the fellow’s professional and educational goals. The fellow will be expected to engage with the host office at a full-time equivalent, remotely and/or on-site and with other staff and/or leadership, as appropriate. Hosts and fellows are responsible for agreeing on remote/virtual, on-site, and hybrid arrangements.

Prospective fellows submit fellowship applications through California Sea Grant (via the online application system eSeaGrant) and are 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. 

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

Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed.



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 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. 

Stipend and Expenses

Prospective hosts are expected to contribute at least 75% of the costs to support a fellow. If a host is requesting more than one fellow, the host will pay 100% of the costs associated with any additional fellowships. California Sea Grant will administer the monthly stipend payments, health insurance and travel reimbursements for each fellow.

Hosts are expected to contribute at least 75% of the total direct costs of their first fellowship award (includes stipend, health insurance reimbursement, and travel costs) plus administrative support (calculated at 12% of the full direct cost per fellow for 2024) plus applicable indirect costs (IDC).  Hosts will contribute 100% of the total direct costs of any additional fellowships, plus administrative support and applicable IDC.  If you have any questions about the IDC, please contact the California Sea Grant fiscal office ( A summary of costs to potential hosts is as follows:

  1. Direct annual cost of fellowship award (stipend [$56,100], health insurance [$3,636], travel [$2,500])= $62,236
  2. California Sea Grant Administrative Support (12% of Direct Costs for 2024)= $7,468 
  3. Indirect Cost Rate= Varies by Prime Funding Source 

Future Budget Considerations 

For 2025 fellowships costs will be increased as follows: stipend $56,940, health insurance $3,684, and travel $2,500, for a total direct annual cost of $63,123 for a fellowship, plus administrative support and applicable IDC.

Once hosts are confirmed, they are expected to work with California Sea Grant and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Office of Contract and Grant Administration to put into place a cooperative or interagency agreement for each fellowship award prior to the start of fellowships in winter 2024. Fellows are NOT ALLOWED to start work until the funding agreement is completed.

* If a host has more than one fellow, California Sea Grant’s contribution of 25% may be applied evenly among the fellows for contracting purposes at California Sea Grant's discretion.

Length of Assignment

The length of a fellowship assignment is 12 months (short extensions may be possible). The fellowship, for this year’s competition, will begin in the winter of 2024 (January to March). 

Start Date

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; with the exact start date negotiable between an individual host and fellow.

Host Application

The California Sea Grant State Fellowship program is open for participation by municipal, state and federal agencies in California with mandates in coastal or marine research, policy, or management.

A host application will include the following:

1. Host location and contact information.
2. Names of fellowship supervisor(s). 
3. Fiscal point(s) of contact for California Sea Grant. Please note if same as fellowship supervisor(s)
4. Position description (not to exceed two pages, single spaced). If selected as a participating host, this description will be made available as submitted to prospective fellowship applicants.
5. Statement of proposed financial contribution.
  • The statement should include the total dollar amount of proposed financial commitment, as well as the source of proposed funding. For example, federal, state, private, NGO, etc.
  •  Hosts are required to provide at least 75% of the entire cost of the (first) 12-month fellowship (including stipend, health insurance reimbursement, travel costs, administrative support and applicable IDC). Hosts must pay 100% of the costs for any additional fellowship(s) and/or extensions.
Note: California Sea Grant reserves the right to determine a host. For example, host agencies with multiple districts, divisions, offices, etc. will be viewed as one host by California Sea Grant.

Please submit the above information as a single word doc to by June 15, 2023 5PM.

Because of timing with the state fiscal year and when host applications are due, hosts may submit information of their intent to support a certain number of fellows by the June 15, 2023 deadline. However, final budget commitment letters are due by July 10, 2023.

Host Selection

Acceptance of a host application will be based on the following criteria: 

  1. The perceived quality of the fellowship opportunity.
  2. The level of educational and professional benefit for the fellow.
  3. The host office’s previous experience working with interns, fellows (including Sea Grant Fellows) or other mentoring/educational programs.
  4. The level of financial commitment. Hosts are required to provide at least 75% of the entire cost of the (first) 12-month fellowship (including stipend, health insurance reimbursement, travel costs, administrative support and applicable IDC). Hosts must pay 100% of the costs for any additional fellowship(s).

California Sea Grant staff will evaluate host applications against the above criteria, priorities of the State Fellowship Program, and California Sea Grant's administrative and financial capacity to determine final host fellowship opportunities.

California Sea Grant has the right to decline host applications. Selected hosts will be contacted by California Sea Grant staff by June 22 (approximately).


Once a host organization has been selected by California Sea Grant to participate in the State Fellowship Program, there are several items that will be required by hosts to submit, including but not limited to: 

  1. Host Presentation Recording & "Get to Know You" Videos
  2. Prep Week Office Hours and Matching Workshop Interview Availability

Host Presentation Recording & "Get to Know You" Videos

Prior to the matching workshop, each host will record a presentation via an online video platform that provides a background of the organization and scope of the general duties of their position. If hosts require assistance for the recording, California Sea Grant can help by scheduling, and recording host presentations by Zoom. We will encourage all finalists to view presentations recordings to gain a better understanding of the fellowship opportunities and host agencies. All presentations will be recorded and distributed to finalists via a password protected webpage. 

We will schedule Q&A Office Hours for finalists and hosts to ask any general questions about the presentations (see Prep Week below). Once a host organization has been selected by California Sea Grant to participate in the State Fellowship Program they will be contacted with instructions for the presentation recording. 

Along with host presentations, we also ask each host to record a, “Get to Know You” video with the goal of demonstrating the personality and character of the host offices and mentors. The goal is to help provide common ground for discussion as well as stand in the place of the traditional networking events. These videos will be available to finalists prior to and during the matching workshop. California Sea Grant will provide general prompts to each host to record a short, ~5 min video for each host. Along with the prompts, we encourage hosts to bring a bit of their own personality to the videos. If you submitted a “Get to Know You” video last year, you are welcome to use the same recording if key details have not changed. More information about these videos will be provided once hosts are selected.

Prep Week

Similar to the host presentations, finalists will be asked to submit a presentation recording 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. All host and finalist presentations will be available for viewing starting the week of September 18th through Prep Week, September 25-29. During Prep Week, we will also ask hosts to be available for Q&A-style office hours for finalists, and attend an informal Welcome Mixer.

Matching Workshop Availability 

The matching workshop for 2024 State Fellows will be 100% virtual. Selected hosts will be guided through a matching process with fellowship finalists at a mandatory virtual matching workshop. Once a host organization has been selected by California Sea Grant to participate in the State Fellowship Program they will be contacted to submit their availability for Prep Week activities (Office Hours, Welcome Mixer) and interviews during the matching workshop. Each host must have a minimum of 12 interview slots open during the matching workshop window. However, each host can determine for themselves the maximum number of interviews and corresponding time slots they will be available for. The virtual matching workshop will take place over October 16-23, 2023.

A full detailed virtual matching workshop schedule will be finalized in the near future. An outline of the schedule can be found here.

Interview Scheduling

Utilizing the interview availability submitted by hosts, California Sea Grant will work with finalists in a round robin series for finalists to select their own interview schedules. Each finalist will be required to select a minimum of 10 interviews. The round robin activity will result in each finalist and each host having their own schedule sheet. California Sea Grant will send each host their 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) based on each host’s and finalist’s respective schedule. After the interviews take place, each finalist will submit their top 10 hosts to California Sea Grant in an unranked list. California Sea Grant will send each host a list of finalists that included that host in their top 10 on the morning of October 19th.

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

Follow Ups

Hosts submit by Thursday, October 19th at 5pm to California Sea Grant a list of no more than 5 finalists they wish to follow up with on Monday, October 23rd from 9AM-1PM. 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 min 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 on Monday October 23. 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. Finalists invited to the matching workshop are not guaranteed a fellowship. 

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


May: Host applications opened
May: Request for fellowship applications opened
June 15, 5PM: Host applications due
June 22 (approximate): Accepted host agencies notified; tentative host positions posted on California Sea Grant website; accepted hosts are sent additional information on matching workshop details and requirements
July 10: Deadline for host budget commitment letters
July 14 (approximate): Final host positions posted on California Sea Grant website
July 19, 5PM: Fellowship applications due
July 20-August 1: Host Information Sessions (Hosts will be polled)
July 24 - August 25 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists 
August 1, 5PM: Hosts Provide Prep Week Office Hours availability; Matching workshop interview availability, and Mixer availability due
August 28 (approximate): Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts
September 13: Host Presentation & get to Know You Video Recordings Due
September 25-29: Prep Week: Watch Presentation Recordings; Attend Q&A Office Hours for Finalists, Welcome Mixer
October 4, 1PM-5PM: (Finalists only) Interview scheduling
October 6-13: California Sea Grant and Hosts finalize and distribute interview schedule
October 16-23: MANDATORY Virtual Matching Workshop. An outline of the schedule can be found here.
     October 19, 5PM   Host Follow-Up Lists Due
     October 20, 5PM   Hosts send Follow-Up Invites to Finalists
     October 23, 9AM-1PM  Follow-Ups
     October 23, 5PM  Rankings Due
October 25 (approximate): Fellowship matches announced
January 2024-March 2024: Fellowship begins


Delanie Medina
Fellowship Program Coordinator
Budget Questions