Knauss Marine Policy Fellow


Knauss Fellowships are one-year, paid fellowships for graduate students interested in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and national policy decisions. 2021 fellows are matched with “hosts” in executive or legislative offices in Washington DC. Executive placements may be in NOAA, U.S. Navy, the Department of Transportation, Water Power Technologies in the Department of Energy, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency or others. Legislative placements may be with the U.S. Senators or Representatives of committees within Congress such as the House Committee on Natural Resources or the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation.

More information

Application timeline

  • (OPTIONAL) January 15, 2020:  Submit your CV, personal statement, 2020 plans statement, and transcripts to Lake Champlain Sea Grant for feedback. Send to Julianna.M.White [at] (subject: Knauss%20Fellowship) .
  • February 21: Submit full application package, described below, to LCSG for review. Incomplete applications will not be accepted, per national rules. Preparation can take up to a month, so please plan ahead. Send to Julianna.M.White [at] (subject: Knauss%20Fellowship) .
  • February 22-March 22: LCSG conducts interviews.
  • April 3: LCSG submits up to six applications to the national program.
  • Summer 2020: National Sea Grant announces selected fellows.

About the Fellowship

Eligibility: This fellowship is available to any student regardless of citizenship, who, on February 21, 2020, is enrolled toward a degree in a graduate or professional program, and who has an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources, and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The applicant's graduate degree must be awarded through a U.S.-accredited institution of higher education in the United States or a U.S. Territory. Applicants from Vermont or from the Lake Champlain Basin area of New York must apply to Lake Champlain Sea Grant. Lake Champlain Sea Grant will convene a selections committee to review all applicants and will forward on highest ranking candidates to the National Sea Grant office for final selections.

Terms of appointment and stipend: The fellowship will be for a period of one year starting February 1, 2021 through January 31, 2022 in which the fellow will work in or near Washington, DC.  The eligible Sea Grant program provides approximately $47,500 to each fellow for salary/stipend for the first twelve months of the fellowship plus $11,500 to support health insurance, relocation, moving expenses, tuition, and academic- and fellowship-related travel. The fellow must send a final performance report to the home Sea Grant program by the last day of the fellowship

Qualifications: For 2021 fellowships, students must be enrolled in a graduate or professional program on the application deadline date of February 21, 2020, but may graduate prior to the start of the fellowship. Every applicant's graduate degree must be awarded by a U.S.­ accredited institution of higher education in the United States or a U.S. Territory. Applicants will be judged on academic record, stated education and career goals, communication skills (written and verbal), ability to work with people, recommendations, prior studies and work experience in marine or aquatic-related fields, and diversity of academic background.

Application instructions

Applications must include:

  1. Curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages).
  2. Personal education and career goal statement emphasizing the applicant's abilities and the applicant's expectations of the fellowship experience in terms of their career development (1000 words or less).
  3. Two signed letters of recommendation, including one from the student's major professor; if no major professor exists, a faculty member with knowledge of the applicant’s academic performance may be substituted. All applicants will be evaluated solely on their application package according to the criteria listed in the Federal Funding Opportunity Section V. Therefore, letters of endorsement from members of Congress, friends, or relatives will not be accepted. Any letters beyond the two letters of recommendation and the eligible Sea Grant Director’s letter will be disregarded by the selection panel.
  4. Listing of classes and/or plans for spring 2020, summer 2020 and fall 2020 (not to exceed one page).
  5. Clear, scanned copy of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts.
  6. For applicants in a state or territory not served by an eligible Sea Grant program, but applying through an eligible Sea Grant program, a written statement from the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program Manager referring the applicant to the most appropriate eligible Sea Grant program must be included as part of that applicant's application package to the Sea Grant program.

Each component of the application must be submitted electronically in one or multiple pdf files to Julianna White, Research Program Manager Lake Champlain Sea Grant (Julianna.M.White [at] (subject: Knauss%20Fellowship) ) by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 21, 2020. Please use the subject line "Knauss Fellowship."

Letters of recommendation may be included in the submission or sent separately by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 21, 2020 via email to Julianna.M.White [at] (subject: Knauss%20Fellowship)  or mail to: Julianna White, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, RSENR, Aiken Center, 81 Carrigan Drive, Burlington, Vermont 05405.

Confirmation of application receipt will be sent by email. If you do not receive a confirmation within several days, please contact Julianna (802-656-4277).

If an application reaches the national level review, the letter of endorsement from the sponsoring Sea Grant program director, required federal application documents, and required Sea Grant budget forms will also be considered. Lake Champlain Sea Grant will work with the applicant to complete these at the end of March.

Evaluation criteria

1. Recommendations and/or endorsements of student (15 percent). For the Knauss Fellowship program the endorsements and content of the letter from the applicant's major professor, and the second letter of recommendation are reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the letters demonstrate knowledge of the applicant and their abilities;
  • the letters speak to the leadership potential, confidence, maturity, and self-direction of the applicant;
  • the letters provide evidence of the applicant’s willingness and flexibility to tackle issues beyond their area of expertise and an openness and capacity to expand experience;
  • the letters provide evidence of the applicant’s creative thinking, analytical skill, and ability to translate abstract concepts;
  • the letters provide evidence of the applicant’s ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts.

2. Academic record (10 percent). For the Knauss Fellowship program, the graduate and undergraduate transcripts, as well as the curriculum vitae, are reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the education and experience in the applicant’s area of expertise are appropriate to the career stage;
  • the applicant displays strength in academic performance and competitive course grades;
  • records of publications and/or presentations are appropriate to the career stage, field, and institutional setting.

3. Statement of career goals of the student (35 percent). For the Knauss Fellowship program, the career goal statement is reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the goal statement is specific, direct, and concise while discussing what the applicant would bring to and gain from the Knauss fellowship;
  • how clearly the applicant articulates a career or life goal;
  • the goal statement provides evidence of creative thinking, analytical skill, and/or indicates the applicant’s capacity and willingness to make connections between science and broader economic, social, and political issues;
  • the goal statement demonstrates the applicant’s ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts;
  • the goal statement includes clear objectives which align with the broader mission of the Sea Grant program and NOAA.

4. Additional relevant experience related to diversity of education; extra-curricular activities; honors and awards; and interpersonal, written and oral communication skills (40 percent). For the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program, relevant experience would be in marine or aquatic-related fields. The curriculum vitae and career goal statement are reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the applicant has employment, volunteer, or extracurricular activities in relevant academic, applied, research, administration outreach, or policy positions;
  • the experience in the applicant’s area of expertise is appropriate to the career stage;
  • the applicant has received relevant honors and awards;
  • the applicant has shown interest in working with diverse stakeholders;
  • the applicant’s experience demonstrates a commitment to apply scientific expertise to serve society;
  • the applicant’s experiences show prior leadership roles relevant to career stage (e.g., student government, faculty committees, advisory committees, professional societies, community initiatives, etc.).

The application will also be reviewed more generally for clarity (e.g., misspelled words, grammatical errors, undefined acronyms, etc.). 

At the national review, the evaluation criteria are identical to those used at the state level, except that in criteria (1), the letter of endorsement from the sponsoring Sea Grant program director will also be considered.


For more information about this fellowship, please contact Julianna White (julianna.m.white [at] at Lake Champlain Sea Grant.