RAY Conservation Fellow, Science and Knowledge

POSITION TITLE: RAY Conservation Fellow, Science and Knowledge

DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM: Science and Knowledge                               

REPORTS TO: Eleanor D. Pierel, PhD – Manager, Climate Science

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 Science and Knowledge team integrates the latest evidence on the interaction between human activities and marine systems to improve the health of ocean ecosystems and the stability and well-being of ocean-dependent businesses and coastal communities. Ocean Conservancy’s science staff works in close partnership with other programs, especially the Climate Policy program, to develop evidence-based, ocean-focused solutions that support climate adaptation, climate change mitigation, and conservation. In every case, we work toward a sustainable relationship between marine systems and human communities that is resilient to challenges from climate change, loss of biodiversity, and other anthropogenic changes.

The Fellow will work alongside Ocean Conservancy’s team of world-class scientists and policy experts to advance critically needed solutions to address the most challenging problems facing our ocean today. Taking into account current issue needs and position expertise, the Fellow will support Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to address issues relating to climate science and policy, specifically focusing on coastal resilience and restoration.


The Fellow will be engaged in shaping Ocean Conservancy’s future by providing information on and helping plan new climate science and policy initiatives at Ocean Conservancy.

The Fellow will complete a project critical to Ocean Conservancy’s climate science goals and over which they have primary ownership. The project topic will be related to coastal resilience and restoration and could focus on topics such as nature-based solutions, toxic site risk from sea level rise, coastal water quality or ocean justice issues. The methods for the project will vary depending on the Fellow’s expertise. For example, the project could involve geographic information system mapping, policy and content analysis or interviews and qualitative analysis. The supervisor will work with the Fellow to determine the Fellow’s core project based on their interests and Ocean Conservancy’s goals.

Other duties and responsibilities:

  • Gather background information and brief team members on scientific, policy or news issues of emerging relevance to our ocean science work.
  • Synthesize new knowledge and research to help Ocean Conservancy develop new programs or strategies.
  • Research and produce blog posts, infographics, and/or short summaries of legislation, new knowledge, or emerging developments for a general audience.
  • Lead or contribute to academic journal articles and/or presentations at ocean-related conferences;
  • Organize and run webinars and/or convenings to explore new topics in ocean and coastal science and governance.
  • Develop new and compelling digital communications products like slideshows, story maps, or audio/video products.


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. Degrees in social sciences, natural sciences, or the humanities; an interdisciplinary background is a plus.
  • An interest in the field of conservation, coastal climate impacts and equity issues.
  • Previous experience at the intersection of science and policy is a plus.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work well and collaborate with others.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • An eagerness to learn; deep and genuine curiosity.
  • Ability to synthesize technical information.
  • Openness to working across disciplines.


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.