RAY Conservation Fellow

POSITION TITLE: RAY Conservation Fellow
REPORTS TO: Tegan Hoffmann, Executive Director
STATUS: Regular, Full-Time

In an effort to make the conservation and clean energy fields more equitable and accessible, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY)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.

Coastal Quest is dedicated to pioneering community and nature -driven solutions for coastal climate challenges, with a focus on fostering resilience and adaptation strategies. Our organization recognizes the critical role of lifting up communities in need of environmental and climate justice in addressing the complex and urgent issues posed by climate change along coastlines. By centering our efforts on local empowerment, capacity building, and collaborative strategies, we aim to create sustainable, culturally sensitive, and impactful solutions that address the unique needs of coastal regions to benefit people, nature, and the climate.

We work with non-profits, community-based organizations, local and state agencies, and other leaders to create just equitable solutions that reduce the risk and impacts from climate change, improve water quality, and support overall healthy coastal communities and ecosystems.

We empower coastal communities to lead in the development and implementation of nature-based solutions and climate resilience and adaptation initiatives. Through public private partnership and community-driven approaches, we seek to enhance the capacity of local residents, build on indigenous knowledge, and create a network of support that enables communities to navigate the challenges posed by rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and environmental degradation.

Our mission is to accelerate solutions to build resilient coastal communities for people, nature, and the climate.

Coastal Quest is committed to catalyzing positive change by placing communities at the forefront of climate resilience and adaptation efforts. By embracing the principles of community-driven solutions and public- private partnership, our organization aims to build a more sustainable and resilient future for coastal regions, where the strengths and voices of local communities are central to shaping and implementing effective solutions to the challenges posed by climate change and ensuring coastal ecosystems are sustained and provide the multiple benefits and value that communities care about.

The RAY fellow will assist staff members on coastal resilience projects.  The Fellow will have an opportunity to work on a range of coastal issues which may include preparing research and analysis related to: rocky intertidal biodiversity; marine biodiversity collecting, storage and analysis; coastal resilience; nature-based solutions; climate change and/or demographics of ocean constituencies in California. The Fellow will also engage as part of the team, playing a key role in developing strategy and executing and communicating on our Intertidal Biodiversity DNA Barcode Library in collaboration with the California Ocean Protection Council. This may include opportunities to engage with state and/or federal institutions, academic and science institutions, conservation organizations, partners, and local communities. Through this work, the Fellow will gain skills in research and analysis, written and oral communications, and grant/contract request for proposal selection and management.  The Fellow will be an integral part of Coastal Quest’s team and will gain exposure to a variety of activities, including science meetings, outreach and engagement strategies, and grant/contract management. 

The primary responsibilities of the Fellow include, but are not limited to:

  • Conduct primarily web-based and document background research on a variety of technical issues/questions related to coastal resilience, coastal biodiversity, biodiversity collections and eDNA methods, and extract relevant information and data
  • Support the design and development of PowerPoint presentations
  • Draft basic written documents
  • Perform quantitative and qualitative data analysis, under the guidance of senior staff
  • Support projects where necessary, including note-taking, editing, and some coordination
  • Support the production of high-quality memos, reports, and requests for proposals to hire contractors and make grants
  • Collaborate with Coastal Quest team to support outreach and engagement and develop communications and outreach materials, fact sheets, issue briefs, or longer reports for key target audiences and institutions
  • Collaborate with Coastal Quest team to develop opportunities with the BIPOC marine science community
  • Participate in Project Partner and Team meetings
  • Represent the Coastal Quest at Bay Area networking events (e.g., Blue Drinks)
  • The ideal candidate has a strong interest in coastal issues and a positive self-starter attitude in performing the range of tasks described above.

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.
  • 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 as scheduled.
  • 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 late Summer 2024.
  • A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in Fall 2025.


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 3 years out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2024 (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 in coastal or marine biology, interdisciplinary natural
resource management
▪ An interest in the field of conservation.
▪ Demonstrated capacity to work well and collaborate with others.
▪ Effective written and verbal communication skills.
▪ An eagerness to learn.
▪ Spanish speaking and writing skills is also a strong plus

This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2024.

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

To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

  1. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: https://rayfellowship.org/apply
  2. Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a resume or curriculum vitae, one essay response, one visioning response, and one short answer response.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than April 5, 2024. Transcripts and
additional writing samples are not required.

If you have questions please see our FAQ page and any further questions
about the application process can be submitted to ray@elpnet.org

Coastal Quest is committed to the principles of equal opportunity. Coastal Quest’s organizational policies, practices, and decisions regarding employment, hiring, assignment, promotion, compensation, volunteerism, internships and other terms and conditions of employment or voluntary service shall not be based on a person’s race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, ancestry, military discharge status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, source of income, parental status, housing status, or other protected status, in accordance with applicable law.

Coastal Quest is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically excluded in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.