2024 applications are closed. please come back early Next Year for the next cycle.

Applicant Eligibility

Our goal at the RAY Fellowship Program is to increase opportunities for emerging leaders of color to learn about, engage with, and enter the conservation and clean energy sectors by way of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and various federal agencies. We know there is no one right way to do this work, but we understand how much the environmental field can benefit from the contributions of our points of view and life experiences. In this spirit, we are excited to announce that we now invite applicants who are within THREE years of having received their undergraduate degree, meaning that applicants for the 2024-2026 Cohort (Cohort 9) must have graduated after May 2021. Historically we have required a maximum of one year post graduation at the time of applying. This decision will widen the applicant pool, allow applicants to apply more than once if they are not selected for the previous cohort, and help us meet the needs of a wider community with a variety of life experiences. 

Eligible RAY Fellow applicants:

  • Identify as a person from a historically marginalized group, with interest in the conservation and/or clean energy field(s).
  • Demonstrate a commitment to equity, environmental justice, racial justice, and social change.
  • Be within THREE years of having received their undergraduate degree (must have graduated after May 2021).
  • 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 two-year fellowship.

People who identify under the imperfect term “BIPOC”, that is: Black, Indigenous (or of aboriginal descent), and/or as a person of color, any intersection therein and are from historically excluded backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

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:

Our eligibility requirement is that applicants must have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire two-year fellowship. RAY Fellowship applicants are not required to be US citizens and we have had several non-citizens become RAY Fellows. Applicants must be able to work in the US, including completing an I-9 form to verify work eligibility. This could be through a visa (eg: OPT), DACA, permanent residency, or any other agreements allowing work authorization that will allow a RAY applicant to work in the US for a US-based organization. RAY Host Organizations will not, at this time, sponsor visas for international applicants.

Informational Webinars

The RAY Fellowship Program will also be hosting two informational webinars on the following dates to introduce the program and answer any questions. Zoom links will be shared after registering for the event.

February 29th, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM PT / 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET. Watch here.

March 21st, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PT / 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET. Watch here.

How to Apply 

Applications for the 2024-2026 fellowship cycle open on February 29th! Please share with any eligible applicants and networks. 

To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

1. Complete the 2024 RAY Fellowship Application Form here

Proof of enrollment and a resume is required. 

2. Be sure to submit your essay responses on the second page of the application by clicking the link found at the top of the page.

    Your application WILL NOT be considered complete if both forms are not completed and submitted.

Tip: To ensure that your responses don’t get deleted, we encourage you to type your answers in a Word document and copy and paste them in the appropriate fields.

Application Questions:

1. Dr. Roger Arliner Young, for whom our program is named, was the first Black woman to receive a doctorate degree in zoology. Despite the opposition she faced, there were pivotal moments that shaped Dr.Roger Arliner Young's life. Her accomplishments came after years of juggling research and teaching while navigating social and personal obstacles as a Black woman. (500 word limit.) What lived experiences do you have that have prepared you for a career in Conservation and Clean Energy? How did those experiences lead you to apply to the RAY Fellowship Program?

2. Imagine the world seven generations from now, when humanity has solved our current environmental crises. What does your vision of this world look like? How is it different from our world today and what might be the same? What are some of the ways you contributed to these solutions, and how did the RAY Fellowship Program help to catalyze your leadership?

You may answer this prompt through any medium in which you express yourself best. Examples of submissions could be a painting, a photo diary, a poem or short story, an Instagram post, a Twitter thread, a video essay, a 2-minute podcast, a visual portfolio, etc. There are no right or wrong answers, so be creative in how you show/tell your answer, and have fun!
Please submit your answer to this prompt via URL (shareable as a video, audio, or PDF file through Google Drive, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.).

  • For video or audio submissions, please limit to 2 minutes.
  • For non-video/audio or visual submissions, please limit any contextualizing description to 300 words.
  • For text-only submissions, please limit to 400 words.

3. Short Answer: Which RAY Fellowship position(s) are you most interested in? Why do you believe this position will help you grow professionally? How does this position align with your long-term goals? Provide a short answer of no more than 250 words for each position you are interested in (up to three positions). (250 word limit per each position of interest, up to 3 positions)

What does the RAY Program hope to learn from these prompts? Feel free to allow the following to guide your thinking:

  • Where are you in your journey of learning and leadership? How will the RAY Fellowship support your growth as a person from a historically excluded group in conservation and/or the clean energy field(s)?
  • How are you thinking about the different intersections of social and environmental issues from the lens of someone who is from a historically excluded group in conservation and/or the clean energy field(s)?
  • How do you think about community and how might RAY be an opportunity to build, be in, and give back to your historically excluded communities?
  • How do principles of equity, racial justice, and inclusion relate to your study, work, and leadership?

Applications must be completed and submitted, as outlined above, no later than Friday, April 5th, 2024.

Interviews begin April 22nd. The RAY Program reviews applications on a rolling basis and will notify applicants of final decisions no later than May 24th.

If you have questions about the application process, please see our FAQ page here. Other questions can be submitted to Please include ‘RAY Fellow Application’ in the subject line. 

Fellowship Positions

Please review the descriptions of the fellowship positions being offered during the 2024-2026 fellowship cycle. In February and March 2024, we will post fellowship positions with portfolios in the clean energy, conservation, and marine fields. 


February 29, 2024: Applications Open

February 29 - March 15, 2024: Fellowship Positions Posted on a Rolling Basis

April 5, 2024: Applications Due, 11:59 pm PT

April 15, 2024: Phone Screenings Begin

April 22, 2024: Interviews Begin

Mid to late May 2024: Selected Finalists Notified