Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellowship

Applications now closed – Next application cycle will open Spring 2020


The Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellowship offers a unique educational opportunity for soon-to-graduate or recently finished graduate students engaged in studies pertaining to ocean and coastal policy issues. This one-year, paid marine policy fellowship matches highly motivated, qualified individuals with host agencies, nonprofits or tribes throughout Washington State. The Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellowship offers students first-hand experiences in crafting marine and natural resource policies and allows them to share their academic expertise with their host offices.

2019 Timeline

  • March 26: Host applications due
  • Early April: Host selection finalized; fellowship application opens in eSeaGrant
  • May 10: Fellowship applications due
  • Late May: Fellowship candidates interviewed
  • Early June: Fellowship Finalists announced; applications distributed to participating hosts
  • June 18-19: Mandatory host/fellow matching workshop in Seattle
  • June 21 (approximate): Fellowship matches announced
  • September/October: Fellowships begin

Prospective Fellow Information


Individuals who are graduate students enrolled at Washington universities and who will graduate before the fellowship begins may apply. Applicants should be pursuing or have a degree in a marine-related field, including policy, law, social sciences, oceanography, and fishery sciences. They must also demonstrate a strong interest and some experience in marine science and public policy.


Each fellow will receive an award of $51,500, including a stipend of $48,000 to cover living costs and health care and $3,500 for travel and other fellowship-related expenses.

Application Deadline

May 10, 2019  5:00 p.m. PST

Application Requirements

All applications must include:

  1. Resume or curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages; 12 pt. font)
  2. Statement of the applicant’s goals with emphasis on interest in, contribution to, and expectations from the fellowship (1,000 words or less; 12 pt. font) 
  3. Written summary of academic highlights relevant to the fellowship (300 words or less; 12 pt. font)
  4. Two letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant’s major professor. If no major professor exists, the faculty member who is most familiar with the applicant’s academic work may be substituted
  5. Unofficial copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts

See below for how to apply.

Finalist Selection

Finalists will be interviewed and selected by the Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellowship Review Panel, convened by Washington Sea Grant and made up of program partners which may include representatives from federal, state, local, and tribal government, NGO’s, industry, faculty and former fellows. All candidates will be notified in early June regarding the outcome of the panel’s selection process. More finalists are selected than there are host office positions, therefore not all finalists will match as fellows. 

Selection Criteria

Finalists are selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Academic record and employment history including applicability to the fellowship
  2. Contribution of the fellowship to career goals
  3. Support from two letters of recommendation
  4. Personal skills, including initiative and communications
  5. Community and extracurricular activities

Washington Sea Grant is an affirmative action and equal opportunity institution. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for fellowship opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

Placement of Fellows

A workshop to match host offices with fellows will take place in Seattle, WA on June 18-19, 2019. The workshop includes an orientation, host office presentations, finalist presentations, interviews and fellow matching. There will be more finalists than host office positions, therefore not all finalists will match as fellows. 

How to Apply

New this year: Washington Sea Grant will be accepting all fellowship applications through our online submission portal, eSeaGrant. eSeaGrant will open to applicants in early April. If you are new to eSeaGrant please give yourself plenty of time to complete your application and contact our office if you have questions.

Go To eSeaGrant

Applications are due to eSeaGrant by 5:00 p.m. PST: date tbd

For further information please contact:

Deborah Purce
Tel: 206.543.6600
E-mail: sgfellow@uw.edu

Host Office Application Information

The WSG Hershman Fellowship program welcomes participation by state, tribal and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations in Washington State with programs in coastal or marine research, policy, or management.  Hosts of a Sea Grant Fellow are expected to supervise, mentor, and provide opportunities for involvement in substantive issues that contribute to the fellow’s professional accomplishments and goals. The fellow will be expected to participate at a full-time level within the host office and work on site and with other staff and/or agency leaders, as appropriate.

Interested host offices are invited to submit an application to WSG.

Host Applications

Host applications open in February each year and are now closed for the 2019-2020 Fellowship cycle.

Please email sgfellow@uw.edu to inquire about hosting a fellow during the 2020-2021 cycle.

Each host application must include the following:

  1. Host location and contact information
  2. Names of fellowship supervisor(s)
  3. Point(s) of contact for Washington Sea Grant
  4. Position description (not to exceed two pages, singled spaced). If selected as a participating host, this description will be made available as submitted to prospective fellowship applicants
  5. Level of financial support. Hosts are required to provide at least 75 percent of the entire cost of the 12-month fellowship (stipend, travel, other fellowship costs and Sea Grant program support)*

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

  • The perceived quality of the fellowship opportunity, including mentorship and supervision
  • The level of educational benefit for the fellow
  • The level of financial commitment

WSG will review applications and notify hosts regarding their acceptance in early April.

Selection of 2019-2020 Fellows

In 2019, WSG plans to select up to ten WSG Hershman Fellows (depending on size of candidate pool and number of host offerings). Fellowship applications will be submitted to WSG, and a review panel will be convened to recommend finalists based on an evaluation of academic background, employment history, career and education goals, community and extracurricular activities, interest in the fellowship, as well as personal characteristics such as initiative, leadership, adaptability, communication and analytical skills.

WSG plans to hold a mandatory matching workshop in Seattle on June 18 and 19, 2019, that will serve as the basis for placement of fellows in host offices. During the two-day workshop, hosts and finalists will participate in interviews and presentations. Final host placement assignments will be based on ranking of preferences by both the hosts and selected finalists with possible subsequent discussion as necessary.

The length of a fellowship assignment is 12 months and is not renewable. The fellowship will begin at a mutually agreed upon date in September or October 2019.

WSG will administer monthly stipend payments for each fellow, including funds to purchase health insurance, and reimburse travel and other fellow expenses. Once placements are confirmed, hosts are expected to work with Washington Sea Grant and the University of Washington Office of Sponsored Programs to put into place a cooperative or interagency agreement for each fellowship award prior to the start of fellowships in Fall 2019. Fellows may not start work until the funding agreement is completed.

2019-2020 Fellowship Expenses

Each host office is expected to contribute at least 75 percent of the total costs of the fellowship award (stipend, travel, other fellowship-related costs and administrative support).*

Costs for hosting a 2019-2020 WSG Hershman Fellow will be as follows:

  1. Fellowship award: Each fellow will receive an award of $51,500, including a stipend of $48,000 to cover living costs and health insurance and $3,500 for travel and other fellowship-related expenses
  2. Sea Grant program support: $6,500
  3. Cost to Hosts: $43,500-58,000*

*New! First-Time Host Incentive

In 2019, WSG will trial a first-time host incentive option. The goal of this incentive option is to allow new fellowship hosts from diverse sectors to join the fellowship program with a lower financial commitment. Under the first-time host incentive option, first-time hosts will be expected to pay:

  • 50% ($29,000) in year 1,
  • 65% ($37,700) in year 2, and
  • 75% ($43,500) in year 3.

We hope that this reduced cost option will allow first-time hosts the chance to build a case for additional funding based on the high caliber and proven success of the fellows.

Position Descriptions

Position descriptions for the 2019-2020 Washington Sea Grant State Fellowship opportunities.

Washington State Department of Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program is offering two unique fellowship opportunities this cycle.

The Coastal Hazards Resilience fellow will work on a variety of projects that support coastal communities in developing resources, trainings, and communication tools to effectively plan for and address coastal hazards (including flooding, landslides, erosion, earthquakes, and tsunamis.) See full project description in Ecology’s Coastal Hazard Resilience Project Description PDF.

Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program is offering two unique fellowship opportunities this cycle. The Resilience Action Demonstration Project fellow will work with a multi-agency team to develop processes for studying, funding, and assessing community led resilience projects relating to coastal hazards (including flooding, landslides, erosion, earthquakes, and tsunamis.) See full project description in Ecology’s Resilience Action Demonstration Project PDF

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) is a support organization for the 20 western Washington treaty Indian tribes headquartered in Olympia, Washington. NWIFC’s fellow will support the commissions efforts to characterize different stages of fishery recovery and how associated social and biological tradeoffs should inform possible management decisions. The fellow will learn about the tribal approach to identifying and protecting the lands, waters and ecological processes critical to tribal rights, resources and homelands. See full description in NWIFC’s Recovery Stages Fellowship Project PDF.

The mission of Ecology’s Spills program is to protect Washington’s environment, public health, and safety through a comprehensive spill prevention, preparedness, and response program. Ecology’s Spills fellow will work on implementing brand new legislation related to oil transport vessel safety. This work will likely include a synopsis of changing vessel traffic trends, identifying potential geographic zones to model, and to consider tug escort requirements. See full description in Ecology’s Spills Fellowship Project PDF.

Long Live the Kings (LLTK) is a 35-year-old 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the restoring wild salmon and steelhead and supporting sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. The primary role of the fellow will be to help accomplish specific tasks at the interface of science and management related to LLTK’s Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. The project seeks to determine why certain species of juvenile salmon, and steelhead, are dying as they migrate through the combined marine waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia. The fellow will participate in synthesizing the results and disseminating the findings, tools, and programs established by this project. See full description in LLTK’s Salish Sea Marine Survival Fellowship PDF.

The mission statement of the recently formed Pacific Northwest Crab Research Group (PNWCRG) is to promote sustainable Dungeness crab populations in the Pacific Northwest. The PNWCRG consists of individuals representing researchers and managers from western Washington tribes, state and federal agencies, non-profits, and major universities. The fellow would serve as the first program coordinator for the PNWCRG, formalizing the structure of the group and organizing research and communication efforts; eventually leading to improved management and standardization of Dungeness crab research. See full description in PNWCRG’s Fellowship Project PDF.