RAY Conservation Fellow, Government Relations

POSITION TITLE: RAY Conservation Fellow, Government Relations
DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM: Government Relations
REPORTS TO: Kathy Tsantiris – Director, Government Relations
STATUS: Regular, Full-Time
LOCATION: Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area

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.

Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. Because the ocean impacts each one of us—the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat—the ocean is the responsibility of us all. We remain dedicated to working together to find solutions to the
biggest threats facing our ocean. Whether that is working towards sustainable fisheries or ocean-based climate solutions, we take an adaptive, inclusive and holistic approach to conservation.

At Ocean Conservancy, we continually strive to strengthen our culture by fostering inclusion and equity, enhancing trust and psychological safety and increasing connections across the institution for all staff. We all play a role in creating a strong, connected community where staff are motivated to achieve their goals, have their voices heard, and feel accepted, supported and valued.

Ocean Conservancy's goal is to cultivate a welcoming workplace for people of all backgrounds where everyone feels they can thrive. Additionally, Ocean Conservancy embraces a hybrid work environment, which allows our staff the flexibility to work virtually and in-person while building strong connections across the institution.

Ocean Conservancy’s Government Relations (GR) team is looking for an individual with an interest in public policy, ocean conservation and advocacy to join our team as a RAY Conservation Fellow. Our team’s mission is to create an environment where we can work with decision-makers to enact conservation policy that benefits the health of the ocean, the climate and the communities and wildlife that depend on it.

We welcome candidates with strong interpersonal skills and a passion for affecting positive change for our ocean and communities. The RAY Fellow will work with other Government Relations and program staff to conduct background research and develop and advance policy solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the ocean. In addition to working with all our major conservation program areas and gaining exposure to external coalitions with other NGOs and Congressional staff, the Fellow will take part in election outcome planning across programs and gain immense knowledge of the political and policy process. There will also be an opportunity for the Fellow to work with programs that most directly overlap with their interests.


  • Conduct background research on specific conservation policy areas.
  • Prepare biographical background materials on Members of Congress.
  • Help the Government Relations team track meetings and identify outreach gaps.
  • Attend congressional hearings and markups and provide updates to the Government Relations team and program staff.
  • Attend program team meetings to provide project support to the Government Relations team members and gain exposure to ocean conservation policy areas.
  • Monitor developments during electoral cycles and work with Government Relations team members to prepare OC programs for electoral transitions.
  • Track legislative proposals of interest to OC programs.
  • Work with Government Relations team and program staff to coordinate stakeholder advocacy fly-ins (virtual or in-person).
  • Manage “Ocean Conversation” events to increase OC’s visibility with members of Congress and the environmental community.
  • Draft a variety of written communications products for use in direct lobbying (such as op-eds, letters, fact sheets, etc.).
  • Attend congressional and administration meetings with Government Relations team members and coordinate follow-up needs.
  • Write blogs and develop social media posts for use by allies in advocacy pushes.

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 2 nd 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. Degrees in marine science, environmental policy communications, political science or public administration preferred but not required.
  • An interest in the field of conservation, the public policy process and advocacy.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work well and collaborate with others.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills; strong project management skills.
  • An eagerness to learn.

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 by Ocean Conservancy who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities. Ocean Conservancy is committed to equity in its pay practices and posts expected hiring ranges for each of its positions. This full-time, non-exempt position (eligible for overtime) pays a rate of $25 an hour (or an approximate annualized salary of $52,000).

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

Ocean Conservancy provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

We encourage applicants who have a diverse level and range of relevant skills and experiences to apply. A 100% match is not required. We want to support employees’ career growth and in return, our employees help Ocean Conservancy grow into a stronger, more inclusive institution.