RAY Conservation Diversity Fellow: Climate-Ready Fisheries


REPORTS TO: Fish Policy Analyst/POSEIDON Project Director                      

STATUS: Regular, Full-Time, Non-Exempt (hourly)                                   

LOCATION: Ocean Conservancy – Washington, DC                         


Inspired by efforts to increase racial diversity in conservation and clean energy, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Diversity Fellowship Program aims to increase and facilitate environmentally-related career pathways for emerging leaders of color. The RAY Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship designed to equip recent college graduates with the tools, experiences, support, and community they need to become leaders in the conservation and clean energy sector—one that, in our visions of the future, fully represents, includes, and is led by the diverse communities, perspectives, and experiences of the United States.


Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean. From the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico to the halls of Congress, Ocean Conservancy brings people together to find solutions for our water planet. Informed by science, our work guides policy and engages people in protecting the ocean and its wildlife for future generations. 


For over 25 years, Ocean Conservancy’s Fish Conservation Program has worked to find practical solutions to the challenging problems facing our fisheries. Our vision is this—healthy fish populations and resilient ocean ecosystems that support people through thriving fishing businesses, provide ample fishing opportunities and deliver nutritious protein to families around the world for generations to come. We are dedicated to working with our partners to achieve this vision. We do this by jumping to the heart of where management happens. At Ocean Conservancy, we are on Capitol Hill, at the Regional Fishery Management Councils across the United States, and with decision-makers in places like Jakarta, Indonesia.  But from snapper in the Gulf of Mexico to the tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, our principles are the same:

  • Healthy fisheries mean more than just big populations of fish — they mean food security, opportunity, recreation and culture for coastal and indigenous communities around the world. They also mean functioning ecosystems that benefit everyone. The economic reach of fishing is vast and supports businesses that include commercial fishermen, charter boats, boat and ship manufacturers, tackle manufacturers, and tourism-related operations.
  • Science-based fishery management leads to better outcomes for fish, fishing communities, and ocean ecosystems. So we work to make sure the best science and data is at the table when policy and management decisions are made, and work with partners to develop and implement innovative tools to fill gaps in our understanding of fisheries.
  • Collaboration is the key that makes solutions stick. We work with scientists, managers, fishermen and others. We believe that fishermen—who are the ones affected by changes on the water and are seeing impacts to fish populations firsthand—are part of the solution.
  • Smart management means considering the big picture and thinking ahead. We support management that takes the broader ecosystem into account. We are on the forefront of emerging fisheries solutions to keep pace with the unprecedented changes that are occurring in our oceans.


Ocean Conservancy is looking to bring on a RAY Fellow that is excited about the intersection of science and policy and eager to work on an issue that has huge importance to coastal communities, livelihoods and the health of the ocean. This position will support our efforts to understand what sustainable fishing looks like as the climate changes and what that means for how we manage fisheries and help communities adapt. The RAY Fellow will get to work with two programs at the organization. The first is our Fish Conservation Program, which works with fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico, on the U.S. West Coast, and in Alaska, as well as with national policymakers to ensure U.S. fisheries are managed for long term sustainability.  The second is POSEIDON, a research project that works with university partners in a few international fisheries to design better policies and incorporate the human side of fisheries into decision-making. The RAY Fellow would be an active member of our team, which comprises scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates, with partners from a number of different countries. 

The RAY Fellow will have the unique opportunity to see both the science and policy ends of this issue. With the Fish Conservation team, the Fellow will get experience developing advocacy strategies to effectively reach members of Congress and the Administration, conducting policy analysis, and amplifying the stories of fishermen and coastal communities to communicate about what climate change means for fisheries. With the POSEIDON team, the RAY Fellow will have the chance to explore the impacts of social, economic, and climate-driven shifts in fisheries by learning to use the POSEIDON simulation model, building solid research and quantitative skills through joint projects with scientists at leading universities. The RAY Fellow will have opportunities to collaborate with scientists and engage with both fishers and fishery managers. This work could involve domestic and international travel.


The types of responsibilities and projects we have planned for the RAY Fellow include:

  • Creating communications materials (e.g., blogs, fact sheets, and briefs) about climate-ready fisheries to educate and advocate to multiple and diverse audiences
  • Participating in outreach activities to engage with stakeholders and facilitate authentic storytelling about the importance of fisheries and the impacts of climate change
  • Opportunities to learn about domestic U.S. policy and regulation and about Congress (e.g. by attending briefings and hearings on Capitol Hill)
  • Analyzing U.S. fisheries policies and the impacts of climate change on our ocean
  • Collecting socio-economic and biological data (through desktop research, surveys, and analysis of primary data sources) with fishermen, in-country partners, and management agencies
  • Conducting analysis to forecast how climate change may impact fishing fleets, communities, and fish populations using the POSEIDON model
  • Other projects depending on RAY Fellow’s interests

This is a great opportunity for someone who is interested in connecting science to policy and who cares about how people are impacted by changes in the environment. It’s an ideal spot for someone with a science or quantitative background looking to build communications skills and do applied research that makes a difference. 


  • A college degree by the time of employment with a background in environmental or social science, economics, or other relevant discipline.
  • An interest in the field of conservation.
  • Demonstrated intellect and leadership.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • An eagerness to learn.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and self-direction.
  • Ability to research a topic and summarize ideas across a number of areas clearly.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with team members and partners in remote locations (e.g., through email, phone, and video communications).
  • Some comfort with basic quantitative analysis (comfort with Excel is required; if you’ve done a little statistics, or have familiarity with R, that’s a plus)
  • Some knowledge of fisheries is helpful, but not required


In addition to the responsibilities at the host institution outlined above, RAY Fellows will spend, on average, 2-4 hours per week (5-10% of work time) on the following:

  • Actively communicating and building community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows.
  • Attending monthly check-ins calls (including 1-on-1 check-ins with RAY program staff and group calls with their RAY Fellow cohort).
  • Meeting regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution.
  • Attending monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills.
  • Developing a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) with the support of supervisor(s), mentors, RAY program staff, and their RAY Fellow cohort. The PLP will serve as a tool for self-reflection, planning, and assessing progress towards professional, personal, and leadership goals.
  • Preparing and leading an hour-long end-of-fellowship webinar highlighting their Fellowship experience.

RAY Fellows will also attend:

  • A 3-day Orientation Retreat in August 2020.
  • A 3-day Leadership Retreat in August 2021.
  • At least one other in-person training or workshop with their RAY Fellow cohort.


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 no more than 1 year out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2020 (we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time).
  • Have not had a full-time job in conservation.
  • Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship.


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship starting on or after July 15, 2020.


The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by Ocean Conservancy, who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities.


To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: https://rayfellowship.org/apply
Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a curriculum vitae or a resume, two essay and one short answer responses, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than March 31, 2020. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. Questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Program Coordinator, Guilu Murphy, via email at guilu@elpnet.org.

Ocean Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Ocean Conservancy is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.