RAY Aquarium Conservation Fellow


RAY Aquarium Conservation Fellow

Reports to: 

Executive Director, Aquarium Conservation Partnership 


Regular, Full-Time


Remote, but with the potential to relocate to an aquarium member location during the Fellowship (TBD). 

About ACP:

The Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) is a coalition of 26 U.S. aquariums working to conserve our ocean and freshwater ecosystems and committed to sustainable practices. As trusted, science-backed institutions that welcome millions of visitors each year, aquariums are uniquely positioned to engage the public in conservation. With an equity lens, ACP leverages the collective resources of member institutions across the United States to mobilize audiences, advocate for policy change, and advance conservation at the local, state, and national levels. ACP is a fiscally sponsored organization of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

Position Summary:  

The RAY Aquarium Conservation Fellow (“Fellow”) will play a key role in supporting ACP’s programmatic and policy work. The Fellow will work with ACP staff in addition to staff from member aquariums to support existing ocean and freshwater conservation strategies. Given the breadth of topics and approaches under the purview of ACP, the Fellow will gain valuable cross-disciplinary experience and exposure to many issues in ocean and freshwater conservation, including protecting ocean and freshwater ecosystems and wildlife; improving the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture; combating climate change and its impacts on people, the ocean, and freshwater ecosystems; reducing the sources of plastic pollution in ocean and freshwater ecosystems; and advancing equity and environmental justice in ocean and freshwater conservation.

The Fellow will work with ACP staff, consultants, and aquarium leads to provide programmatic, policy, and technical support for key strategies that involve both aquarium sustainable business operations and ACP policy priorities. As an integral part of this team, the Fellow will bring their unique perspective to help address ocean and freshwater conservation challenges. They will conduct analyses to better inform and coordinate the work of ACP. The Fellow will also be responsible for a scoping project that looks at sustainable business practices within aquariums, including research, outreach, and a final report that will guide ACP and our member aquariums to improved sustainability practices. It is anticipated that the Fellow would present these findings at a relevant professional conference, such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Annual Conference. This will provide the opportunity for the Fellow to develop, with mentoring and management, a specific project to support conservation priorities and will allow the Fellow to gain deeper understanding and show leadership on specific projects. 

The Fellow will need to bring a keen interest in conservation, good communication skills, ability to work well with others, and a strong sense of teamwork. 

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Provide programmatic and technical support to all program strategies. 
  • Lead on the implementation of 1-2 focused conservation projects with explicit deliverables/outcomes each year. 
  • Help to coordinate ACP activities and deliverables. 
  • Conduct research to support the development of strategic documents, workshops, and communication materials to meet conservation objectives. 
  • Work with ACP staff and leads to track emerging ocean conservation issues and conduct desktop research to support conservation efforts. 
  • Work with ACP staff to develop, track, and coordinate ocean and freshwater efforts.
  • Help to develop communication materials. 

Additional Fellowship Responsibilities:

  • Actively communicate and build community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows.
  • Attend monthly check-ins calls (including 1-on-1 check-ins with RAY program staff and group calls with their RAY Fellow cohort).
  • Meet regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution.
  • Attend monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills.
  • Develop 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.

RAY Fellows will also attend:

  • A 3-day Orientation Retreat in November 2022.
  • A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in September 2023.

Applicant Eligibility:

Eligible RAY Fellowship 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.


  • A college degree by the time of employment, with preference given to degrees and study in the following fields: communication, and environmental, marine, social, or political science.
  • An interest in the fields of ocean and/or freshwater conservation and environmental justice.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Multicultural and multilingual skills appreciated.
  • An eagerness to learn and knowledge of when to ask for help.
  • Comfortable managing and prioritizing tasks from multiple sources. 
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a remote setting.
  • Time management skills.
  • Ability to travel to San Diego, California, up to 2 times per year for meetings (locations vary). 

Term/Length of Assignment 

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


This Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by Monterey Bay Aquarium, who offers a competitive benefits package, retirement savings, and generous vacation and sick leave policy, as well as training and professional development opportunities.

Annual salary: $45,000