April 23, 2021, 5:00 p.m. Eastern

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Contact Person

Samuel Lake, Ph.D.
Fellowship & Research Program Coordinator

Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship

Have questions about our post-graduate fellowships?

An informational webinar recording can be found here.

All applicants are required to contact Sam Lake, VASG’s Fellowship and Research Program Coordinator, to indicate their interest in the fellowship, discuss the application process, and schedule their virtual interview.

Fellowship Description

The Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship is sponsored by Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) and the Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE), as well as the participating host offices. Modeled after the highly successful national Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, the goal of the fellowship is to develop and support exceptional post-graduates by partnering them with a host office mentor where they receive on-the-job training and hone their professional skills, while improving the stewardship of the Commonwealth’s coastal and marine resources. The program also aims to increase the capacity of the host offices by supporting fellows who are working on mission-relevant programs, and leveraging the knowledge and capacity of Virginia’s academic institutions.

VASG is currently recruiting host offices among local and state government agencies, and non-government organizations (NGOs). As an example, previous offices that have participated in the matching process include Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Marine Resource Commission, and Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources, as well as the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and The Nature Conservancy's Virginia Coast Reserve. Previous fellows worked on a range of issues including: the Commonwealth of Virginia’s resilience initiatives, total maximum daily load and water pollution, shoreline erosion, policy improvements for water quality impairments, coastal community resilience, coordinating environmental document reviews and comments, implementation of electronic permitting, and blue crab fisheries management.


Graduate students close to completing their degree (Master's, Ph.D., or J.D.) in a coastal- or marine-related or relevant field (broadly defined, e.g., natural or social sciences, engineering and design, policy and legal analysis, planning, architecture, business, education, arts and the humanities, etc.) at a Virginia university or college are eligible to apply. Recent graduates who completed their graduate, professional degree or Ph.D. program at a Virginia university or college, graduating in the spring semester 2020 or after, are also eligible. Applicants should demonstrate a strong interest and some experience in coastal or marine resource policy and management (e.g., course work, internships, independent study, etc.). Fellows must complete all degree requirements prior to starting the fellowship.

The fellowship sponsors and hosts are committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication, and education programs that serve people with diverse backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives, and ways of thinking. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and/or health status, religion, veteran status, geographic origin, and socio-economic status.

Award Information

VASG and VEE anticipate supporting two to three post-graduate fellows for the 2021 Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship. The length of the fellowship assignment is 12 months and is nonrenewable. The start date for the fellowship is October 1, 2021. All Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellows who are placed in a host office are employees of W&M. Each fellow receives a salary of $35,000 for the 12-month assignment, and $5,000 for critical expenses (e.g., insurance, if needed) and professional development activities (e.g., travel, registration, or other expenses to participate in conferences, workshops, VASG-sponsored professional development training, etc.).

Tentative Fellowship Competition Timeline

  • Fellowship announcement released: November 2020
  • Applications due to VASG by 5:00 p.m. Eastern: April 23, 2021
  • Virtual interviews: June 2021
  • Notification of finalists: July 2021
  • Selected finalists interview with host offices: July-August 2021
  • Fellows notified of placements: Late August 2021
  • Placements announced: September 2021
  • Fellowship begins: October 1, 2021
  • Fellowship ends: September 30, 2022

  • How to Apply

    For full details including fellowship requirements, application guidelines, evaluation criteria, and review and selection process, download the fellowship announcement. For additional information on the how to submit your application to VASG, refer to the eSeaGrant Instructions. All of the above can be found in the sidebar of this page under Related Documents.

    Intent to Apply

    All applicants are required to contact VASG’s Fellowship and Research Program Coordinator, Sam Lake (contact information in sidebar), to indicate their interest in the fellowship, discuss the application process, and to schedule their virtual interview. Notifications can be sent as a short, simple email expressing your interest in the fellowship. Please reference “Commonwealth Fellowship” in the subject line.

    Application Submission & eSeaGrant

    Applications must be submitted online via eSeaGrant. If you plan to apply, we strongly recommend notifying VASG and registering for eSeaGrant at least two weeks in advance of the deadline.

    Recommendation Letters

    To maintain confidentiality, VASG requires that letters are NOT submitted with the student’s application. Recommendation letters must be requested and uploaded through eSeaGrant. There is no page limit for letters, but VASG recommends that letters not exceed two pages and not include attachments. Please address letters to Dr. Troy Hartley, Director, Virginia Sea Grant.