“I wanted to get my Ph.D. because I wanted to teach—and I wanted my research to have a practical application. Finding out what blue crabs would do in future ocean acidification scenarios could help a lot of watermen. They have a lot of cultural value, they have a lot of commercial value, and they’re important in an ecological sense as well.”

– CHRISTINA FANTASIA B.
University of Virginia

The Recommendation Process

Recommendation Forms

Two recommendations (academic and professional) must be submitted in support of the student. To maintain confidentiality, VASG requires that recommendations NOT be submitted with the student’s application, but rather requested and input through eSeaGrant independently. The forms must be submitted before the deadline.

Academic recommendation

The student’s primary faculty advisor or appropriate faculty member (PI on the research award the applicant will be working on during the fellowship) must provide one recommendation. Co-advisors are required to fill out the form jointly.

Professional recommendation

VASG encourages applicants to consider someone that knows them from a different perspective than their academic advisor (e.g., former employer, mentor from a previous position, colleague they worked with in the past). Selected recommenders should provide a professional perspective to demonstrate the applicant’s breadth and may highlight different strengths and experiences than an academic advisor.

About the Recommendation Form

Referees will be asked to rate and describe the applicant on the following:

  • Self-motivation
  • Response to set-backs
  • Skills and interest in teamwork
  • Leadership skills or interest, particularly collaborative leadership
  • How the applicant would most benefit from VASG support
  • Academic/Professional performance
  • Academic/Professional potential
  • Anything else that VASG should know about the applicant in order to fully consider their candidacy

“The goal of my research is to enhance the sustainability of the American eel fishery and aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay. We are working towards recommending appropriate cost-effective and efficient methods for improving water quality and mitigating disease.”

– AMAN K.
Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Tentative Fellowship Completion Timeline

  • Fellowship announcement released: September 2021
  • Registrations are due in eSeaGrant: 5:00 p.m. EST on November 10, 2021
  • Applications are due to VASG: 5:00 p.m. EST on November 19, 2021
  • Stage 1 – Relevancy review: December 2021
  • Stage 2 – Review panel: January 2022
  • Stage 3 – Candidate interviews: March 2022
  • Notification of results: Spring 2022
  • Awards begin: September 1, 2022

Award Information

Contingent upon available federal funding, fellowships are available for up to two years for master’s, J.D., and Ph.D. students. The fellowship provides an award of up to $40,000 per year to support the student’s academic expenses. The start date for the fellowship is September 1, 2022. VASG expects to fund up to eight fellowships for the 2022–2024 academic years.

VASG-funded projects require a 50 percent funding match (i.e., budgets must show $1 of match for every $2 of Sea Grant funding requested). Only non-Federal funds may be committed as matching contribution. VASG will make all awards to the student’s primary faculty advisor, who must be listed as the principle investigator (PI) on the fellowship application.

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