Call for Host Applications: State Fellowship Program 2025

Funding Category
Application Deadline


Timeline Highlights
New This Year
Program Description
Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
Extension Project Opportunity
Host Application
Host Selection
Virtual Matching Process


All times listed in Pacific Time (PT)

Host applications due: May 31, 2024 5PM
Final host budget commitments due: July 15, 2024
Fellowship applications due: June 14, 2024
Prep Week: August 26-30, 2024
MANDATORY Matching Workshop (virtual): September 16-23, 2024 (see full schedule below)



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. 


This year, we are introducing a “finalist commitment” understanding between California Sea Grant and selected state finalists. This understanding is to work towards reducing finalist dropouts later in the process and to provide clear expectations for our finalists when it comes to their responsibility and commitment to the program.


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 California municipal, state, or federal agencies, as well as research and conservation organizations in California with mandates in coastal or marine research, policy, or management. 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, 328 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 jumpstart 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.


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 2025) 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 [$56,940], health insurance [$3,684], travel [$2,500])= $63,124
  2. California Sea Grant Administrative Support (12% of direct costs for 2025)= $7,575
  3. Indirect cost rate= varies by Prime Funding Source

Future Budget Considerations 

For 2026, fellowship costs will be increased as follows: stipend $57,792, health insurance $3,732, and travel $2,500, for a total direct annual cost of $64,024 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 agency is unable to complete an agreement before the start of the fellowship (January–March 2025), California Sea Grant may ask the host to defer to the next fellowship class.

*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.


The length of a fellowship assignment is 12 months (short extensions may be possible at California Sea Grant's discretion). The fellowship, for this year’s competition, will begin in the winter of 2025 (January to March). Extensions beyond the 12-month fellowship are 100% covered by the host agency, plus administrative support (calculated at 12% of the full direct cost per fellow for 2026 rates), and applicable indirect costs (IDC). An extension justification is required and must be approved by California Sea Grant. 


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


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.  


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


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. You can change the randomly generated password once you log in successfully into the website. 

Please make sure to include your host agency in the file names for each section of the proposal (e.g., caseagrant_position_description.pdf or caseagrant_proposed_financial_contribution.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.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeaGrant please contact Delanie Medina at


  1. Host Office Information 
  • Host Office Name
  • Host Office Location (Address)
  • Name(s) of Fellowship Supervisor(s)
  • Email(s) of Fellowship Supervisor(s)
  • Name of Fiscal Point of Contact for California Sea Grant
  • Email of Fiscal Point of Contact for California Sea Grant
  1. Fellowship 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.
  • The position description should provide a position title (i.e. Climate Change Fellow), detailed description of the fellow’s role and responsibilities, and potential projects throughout the year.
  • This is also an opportunity to share potential professional development opportunities, trainings, meetings, trips, and the host agencies past experience with mentoring, guiding, and developing young professionals.
  • This position description is the first “touch point” between finalists and state agencies.
  1. Proposed Financial Contribution 
  • The statement should include the number of fellows you intend to host, the proposed financial commitment for each fellow, 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 via eSeaGrant by May 31, 2024  5PM.

If selected to be a host agency, California Sea Grant will reach out to begin working on a Final Budget Commitment Letter. These are due by June 28, 2024 and should include the following;

 Final Budget Commitment Letter (not to exceed one page, single spaced)

  • If accepted to host a California Sea Grant State Fellow, guidance will be sent to accepted host offices on letter details and contents.


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

  1. The level of educational and professional benefit for the fellow in providing opportunities to gain on-the-ground training in coastal and marine resource management and policy development. 
  2. The host office’s previous experience working with interns, fellows (including Sea Grant Fellows), or other mentoring/educational programs.
  3. 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 4 (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. Host Office Hours
  3. Matching Workshop Interview Availability
  4. Matching Workshop Social Mixer 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, August 26–30. During Prep Week, we will also ask hosts to be available for Q&A-style office hours for finalists and to attend a Matching Workshop Social Mixer (virtual).

Matching Workshop Availability 

The matching workshop for 2025 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, Matching Workshop Social 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.

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 (September 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 September 19.

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

Follow Ups

Hosts submit by Thursday, September 19 at 5PM to California Sea Grant a list of no more than 5 finalists they wish to follow up with on Monday, September 23 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 of who they would like to be matched with by 5PM on Monday September 23. Hosts and finalists are advised to only rank individuals/host agencies that they interviewed and are willing to be matched with. California Sea Grant will use a matching algorithm to match each host and finalist. Once matches have been finalized, matched finalists will be asked to accept the match with a host agency. Unmatched finalists and host agencies may be offered additional opportunities to be matched directly; waitlist candidates also may be offered the opportunity to interview with unmatched host agencies.

California Sea Grant aims to minimize drop-out of state fellows finalists at any stage in the matching process, however placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed. Finalists invited to the matching workshop are not guaranteed a fellowship. California Sea Grant will do as much as we can to work with finalists and host agencies to fairly provide alternative solutions in the event of not matching or finalist/host drop-outs.  

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


All times listed in Pacific Time (PT)

April 10, 2024: Call for Host applications open

April 12, 2024: Request for Fellowship Applications open

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

June 14, 2024 (approximate): Accepted host agencies notified; tentative host positions posted on California Sea Grant website; accepted hosts are sent 

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

June 17, 2024 (approximate): Final host positions posted on California Sea Grant website

June 14–27, 2024: Host Information Sessions hosted by CASG (Hosts will be polled)

June 28, 2024: Draft Budget Commitment Letter Due to CASG

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

July 12, 2024 5PM: Hosts Provide Prep Week Office Hours availability; Matching Workshop Interview availability, and Matching Workshop Social Mixer (virtual) availability due

July 15, 2024 by COB: Final Budget Commitment Letter Due to CASG

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 

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

September 4, 2024 1–5PM: (Finalists only) 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


Delanie Medina
Fellowship Program Coordinator
Budget Questions