RAY Conservation Fellow/Watershed Field Scientist

POSITION TITLE: RAY Conservation Fellow/Watershed Field Scientist          

DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM: Projects Team                                                

REPORTS TO: Andy Hrcyna, Watershed Scientist

STATUS: Regular, Full-Time                             

LOCATION: Arlington, Massachusetts, with local travel and remote work               


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 sectors—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.


The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) was founded in 1972. Our vision is a vibrant, healthy and resilient Mystic River Watershed for the benefit of all our community members. To achieve this, MyRWA is protecting water quality, restoring important habitats, building climate resilience, transforming parks and paths, and engaging youth and community members.

Our Mystic Greenways program creates and connects 25 miles of parks and paths along the Mystic River and its tributaries. Our education program engages over 1,000 youth and families in STEAM education focused on nature close to home.  Hundreds of volunteers help us document and improve water quality, river herring, and urban heat islands, as well as help reduce trash and remove invasive weeds.  Finally, MyRWA founded and co-leads the Resilient Mystic Collaborative, a watershed-wide partnership among cities and towns to protect people and places from climate change.

This is an exciting time to join a highly collaborative and dedicated staff. MyRWA has a staff of 14 team members, a dedicated Board of Directors, and an annual budget of more than $4 million. As an organization committed to incorporating racial equity and justice throughout our programs and operations, we have embarked on a two-year training and strategic plan update to ensure that we are fully living into these values.


The Watershed Field Scientist position will help you build your technical, project management, and communication skills while understanding what parts of environmental science appeals to you (or not) in developing your career.  Three projects you are most likely to be a part of are:

  • Managing stormwater pollution.  Rainstorms wash pollution off pavement down into storm drains and into the river without being cleaned.  MyWRA staff and current fellows are helping communities identify the best places to construct stormwater trenches that divert pollution before it goes into the river. 
  • Enhancing coastal marsh habitat.  Belle Isle Marsh is the largest remaining coastal salt marsh in Boston Harbor.  Surrounded by urban residential neighborhoods, it provides habitat for over 250 types of birds and buffers communities and Boston’s Blue Line subway from saltwater flooding.  Sea level rise and coastal storms are threatening both the marsh itself and inland neighborhoods.  MyRWA staff are working to identify solutions to improve marsh habitat and manage coastal flood damage to neighborhoods. 
  • Expanding wetlands.  Greater Boston’s stormwater systems were designed when rainfall was much gentler.  Climate change is bringing much more intense rainstorms, separated by short term droughts.  As a result, our communities are dealing with both too much and too little water.  MyRWA staff and fellows are working with communities to design and expand constructed wetlands that can hold more water while providing habitat and opportunities for people to be in nature.

This fellowship has great potential for professional and personal growth.  You will work directly with seasoned staff and colleagues from other organizations on high quality field science that makes a real difference.  You will spend quite a bit of time outdoors working with others, as well as back at the office (or at home) analyzing results.  You will have the chance to manage volunteers, check for data quality, help us develop new programs, and otherwise bring new ideas and solutions into the organization. If you are considering a career in environmental science, this is a wonderful fellowship for you.

We seek motivated candidates who value collaboration within our organization and are energized by finding new and meaningful ways to apply their education to supporting communities and natural habitat in the Mystic Watershed.  We know that you are early in your career.  We’re looking for people who are excited to learn; you don’t need to know how to do all this already!

Depending on your strengths and interests, additional opportunities include:

  • Helping with our existing field science programs, including collecting field samples, analyzing data, and storytelling.  These programs include measuring nutrients that cause algae blooms and tracking the spring migration of river herring as they swim up from the ocean to spawn in the Mystic Lakes.
  • Helping to recruit, coordinate, and train the many volunteers we work with to take field samples.
  • Helping create new field science programs to measure summertime algae blooms and winter road salt.
  • Perform data entry, quality control, analysis, interpretation, and reporting; maintain and update our databases, evaluate data trends and gaps.  We will train you in Excel, R and Access databases as needed.


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) in their 2nd year 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 November 2022.
  • A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in September 2023.


Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

  • Come from a racial/ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and clean energy 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 September 2022 (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.


There are innumerable ways to learn, grow and excel professionally. We know people gain skills through a variety of professional, personal, educational, and volunteer experiences. We respect this when we review applications and take a broad look at the experience of each applicant. We want to get to know you and the unique strengths you will bring to the work. This said, we are most likely to be interested in your candidacy if you can demonstrate the majority of the qualifications and experiences listed below.

The ideal person for this position:

  • Is interested in environmental science. We provide training in this area.
  • Has an ability to establish trusting relationships with people from a wide range of cultural and economic backgrounds.
  • Works well both independently and as part of a team. This position is collaborative and entrepreneurial.
  • Has excellent analytical, organizational, and communication skills, especially attention to detail.
  • Is able to manage multiple tasks/projects and prioritize among competing opportunities.
  • Has a driver’s license.  Most days a bicycle and public transit works fine.
  • Is proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Google Suite.
  • The following skills and experiences are preferred but not required:
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in work experience.
  • Passion for climate justice and relevant issues.
  • Basic graphic design skills are a plus (e.g., Canva, Publisher)


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after September 12, 2022.


This is a full-time, two year position with the Mystic River Watershed Association with a salary range of $49,000 to $55,000 dependent on experience and skills. Our paid time off policy includes 15 days paid vacation in your first year of employment and rises to 20 days in your second year of employment.  We offer 12 paid holidays, and 6 sick paid days per year. MyRWA benefits include health insurance (MyRWA covers up to 80% of employee premiums).


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 resume or curriculum vitae, one essay response, one visioning response, one short answer response, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than June 26, 2022. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. If you have questions please see our FAQ page, attend an informational webinar or watch a recording, and any further questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Program Manager, Charlie Espedido, via email at charlie@elpnet.org.

MyRWA 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. MyRWA 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.

MyRWA seeks to be representative, at all job levels, of the people we serve in our watershed.  We encourage applications from people of color, LGBTQIA people, people living with disabilities, military veterans, re-entry citizens and other under-represented populations.