Applicant Eligibility

Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

  • Come from a racial / ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Be less than one (1) year out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2021 (we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time) 
  • Have not had a full-time job in conservation or clean energy
  • Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship

The RAY Fellowship stands with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. We work to support and advocate for RAY applicants and Fellows, regardless of their country of origin, and we support permanent solutions and pathways to citizenship like the Dream Act. Learn more about DACA, the Dream Act, and what we stand for by reading this press release from the incredible folks over at Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS):

Whether applying for a position through us or elsewhere, we encourage you to know your rights if you are a recipient of DACA. Please visit the National Immigration Law Center website for information on what you are and are not required to share with employers:

How to Apply

Applications for the 2021-2023 Fellowship cycle will open mid-January, 2021. To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

1. Complete an Application. When applications open in January 2021, you will be able to click this link and complete a short online survey. 2020 Applications are closed at this time.

2. Submit a Curriculum Vitae or Resume (a link to submit your application materials will be emailed to you once you have completed the above application form).

3. Submit responses to the following two Essay* prompts and one Short Answer prompt:

  • Essay 1: Dr. Roger Arliner Young, for whom our Program is named, was the first African American woman to receive a doctorate degree in zoology. Her accomplishments came after years of juggling research and teaching while navigating social obstacles as a Black woman and overcoming personal struggles. Dr. Young's story is one of grit and perseverance. Please tell us about an experience from your own life that has influenced who you are and shaped your development. (no more than one page single-spaced)
  • Essay 2: Imagine seven generations from now when we have solved our environmental challenges, what does your vision of this world look like? What are some of the ways you have contributed to these solutions, and how did the RAY Fellowship Program help to catalyze your leadership? (no more than one page single-spaced)
  • Short Answer: Which RAY Fellowship positions would you like to be considered for? Please rank your top three choices with #1 being your top choice, and explain your selection in 2-3 sentences for each choice. (no more than half a page, single-spaced)

*What do we hope to learn from these essay questions? Feel free to allow the following to guide your thinking:

  • How will RAY support you in catalyzing your leadership (i.e. what path(s) do you see yourself on and how will this Fellowship help you)?
  • How are you thinking about the different intersections of social and environmental issues?
  • How do you think about community and how might RAY be an opportunity to build and be in community?
  • How do principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion relate to your study, work, and leadership?

4. Identify a professor, mentor, employer, etc. to write a Letter of Support* for you and have them submit their letter through our online submission form (your recommender will receive a link) or via email to Guilu Murphy at for RAY Conservation fellows or Charlie Espedido at for RAY Clean Energy Fellows. 

*Letters of Support should not exceed one page, single-spaced. Letters should be written on official letterhead and include contact information of the person who is writing the recommendation.

Applications must be completed and submitted, as outlined above, no later than the end of March 2021. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. Questions about the RAY Fellows application process can be submitted to the RAY Conservation Program Coordinator, Guilu Murphy at, or RAY Clean Energy Program Coordinator, Charlie Espedido at Please include ‘RAY Fellow Application’ in the subject line.

Fellowship Positions

Please review descriptions of the Fellowship positions being offered during the 2021-2023 Fellowship cycle. Positions will be added on a rolling basis between January  and March 31, 2021 and announced on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) so please continue to check our website. We anticipate communications, philanthropy, and environmental education specific positions among others this year.


January 15, 2021: Applications Open

January - March 15, 2021: Fellowship Positions Posted on a Rolling Basis

March 26, 2021: Applications Due

April - May 2021: Application Review & Interviews with Finalists

End of May 2021: Selected Finalists Notified

July 15, 2021: First Day of Fellowship

Informational Webinars

Learn more about the RAY Fellowship Program interview and selection process by attending our annual Informational Webinar Series.