Natural Resource Policy at the State Level

This fellowship is intended to give a student first-hand experience in natural resource policy at the state level. In so doing, the student will contribute to policies that will benefit natural resource managers, relevant communities, and user groups. The Natural Resource Policy Fellowship (NRPF) will place graduate student fellows in an Oregon state agency or nonprofit for one year. Starting dates will depend on the needs of the student and host office.

NEW! In 2023, we are partnering with the West Coast Ocean Alliance (WCOA) for their Fellowship Program.

Informational Webinar and Q&A on current OSG student opportunities


OSG NRPF: The length of assignment is one year and is nonrenewable. The fellowship will pay up to $48,000 for the year, in monthly stipend payments. The stipend will provide you with up to $4,000 per month to cover expenses during your full-time fellowship, which may include fellowship-related professional development, educational supplies, health insurance, and travel expenses. This fellowship is open to graduate students and those who have recently completed their graduate degree, with interest and experience in coastal policy from any U.S. university or college (preference will be given to eligible applicants from a college or university with a physical campus located in Oregon).

The WCOA Fellowship is open to students and graduates focused on ocean and coastal management issues with an interest in ocean policy and planning along the U.S. West Coast. Because of the wide range of members and partners of the West Coast Ocean Alliance, applicants for the West Coast Ocean Alliance Fellowship are not required to have a graduate degree. However, some project hosts may require graduate-level degrees to align with specific aspects of their proposed fellowship project and will score applicants accordingly. This fellowship will provide at least $57,000 for the year in monthly stipend payments; $4,750 per month, plus additional funds to support attendance at WCOA meetings.

Additional details about this year's opportunities can be accessed in the 2023 OSG NRPF/WCOA Fellowship Joint Request for Application (PDF).

Host Positions Descriptions are available below:

The OSG Natural Resource Policy Fellowship Application Review Criteria Matrix (PDF) provides detail on how your application will be reviewed (applies generally to both of this year's fellowship opportunities).


Oregon Sea Grant uses eSeaGrant for fellowship application submissions. To access eSeaGrant, send an email to [email protected] declaring your interest in applying. Please include the name of the fellowship you wish to apply for in the subject line. An eSeaGrant account will then be created for you. All components of your application, including letters of recommendation, will be submitted through eSeaGrant. Stating your interest does not obligate you to apply. We are here to provide assistance as needed; however, please do not wait until the last minute to apply.


July 10, 2023

2022-2023 Natural Resource Policy Fellows


Assignment: As a 2023 Natural Resource Policy Fellow, Kendall will be working with the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (ODFW) Marine Reserves Program as their Science Communications Fellow. Kendall will be working to increase connections with communities and stakeholders affected by policy changes and to disseminate research findings from the recently completed synthesis report.

Education: Kendall has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of Oregon, and a master’s degree in Biology from the University of Oregon. Prior to her work with Oregon’s Marine Reserves, Kendall investigated the biological and ecological factors influencing the red abalone population in Oregon, performing genetic analysis, larval behavior synthesis and a management techniques evaluation to complete a conservation and fishery management plan for the historically important recreational fishery.



Assignment: Elissa will be working with the Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP) of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) for her assignment as a 2022-2023 Natural Resource Policy Fellow. Elissa’s primary responsibilities will focus on coastal communications in relation to the ecology, culture, and history of Oregon’s beaches and dunes. Throughout this fellowship, Elissa aims to develop various tools and products to engage diverse communities in learning about the changes occurring along the state’s unique coastline.

Education: Elissa graduated from Rider University with a B.S. in Marine Science and achieved an M.S. in Environmental Science and Management from Portland State University. Her graduate work consisted of two parts focusing on invasive green crabs. Elissa assessed the biotic resistance of green crabs to native crab species across a temperature gradient in addition to investigating their habitat preference in the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (SSNERR) using long-term data.

Professional and Research Interests: Elissa has a deep interest in coastal environments and ecology. Particularly, she is intrigued by interactions between coastal resources and people as well as assessing their influence on each other. With this experience, Elissa aims to be great contributor to coastal science and help translate the processes and patterns to not only aid in community education but also in policy and management decisions. Connect with Elissa on LinkedIn.



Assignment: As a 2022 Natural Resource Policy Fellow, Sarah will be working with The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI) as a Tribal Resource Support Specialist. This work will focus on updating the 2018 Tribal Estuary Response Plan to meet the regulations and agreements of the CTCLUSI, federal and state agencies. In addition to the policies of legal authorities associated with estuaries and tribal waters, the TERP covers a spill response plan, uses and activities related to cultural heritage, and risk assessment of industrial development.

Education: Sarah received a B.A. in Biology (with an emphasis in Marine Biology) at Occidental College. She is currently completing her M.S. degree in Integrative Biology at Oregon State University. Her project involved species distribution modeling, morphology, and microbial ecology of an estuarine burrowing shrimp that was discovered offshore. 

Professional and Research Interests: In her research, Sarah is interested in shifts in species distributions and ecological communities with the changing climate. Estuaries play a key role in the economic and ecological well-being of coastal communities, and Sarah is passionate about equitable estuarine and coastal management decisions. She hopes to apply her research experience and support the work of the CTCLUSI and learn about tribal resource management. 



Assignment: Alexandra (Alex), will be working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Marine Resources Program (MRP) as an offshore wind energy, fisheries, and natural resources impact analyst. Alex will primarily support staff in developing Department positions and comments on offshore wind (OSW) planning, with a focus on expressing Department concerns and recommendations about the potential impacts of OSW on Oregon’s ocean fisheries.  Alex will be assisting with the articulation of fisheries concerns and potential conflicts with OSW development and researching/drafting comments and recommendations relating to potential impacts of development on fish and wildlife species and habitats.

Education: Alexandra M. Avila recently defended her Ph.D. in Fisheries at Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. Her dissertation research examined the effects of nearshore currents and downwelling patterns, on the dispersal of China Rockfish (Sebastes nebulosus) along the coast of Oregon and Washington Coast. Alex Avila graduated with a B.A. in Biology from Hood College in Maryland, with two minors: Coastal Studies and Environmental Science and Policy.  She obtained her M.Sc. in Ecology at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in Ecuador.

Professional and Research Interests: Alex has always loved anything and everything having to do with water, whether it’s the ocean, rivers or lakes. This has led her to work in many coastal areas in the United States and in Ecuador. She has studied the genetic diversity and conservation of the misty grouper (Hyporthodus mytacinus) in the Galapagos Islands, conducted environmental impact research in the Amazon, researched the oyster (Crassostera virginica) and blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) populations in the Chesapeake Bay with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), and helped in assessing the salmon habitat in Oregon with the U.S. Forest Service. Alex’s background combines quantitative research skills, and softer skills such as conflict resolution, communication in international affairs, and global/local marine policy and has a great enthusiasm for science communication especially related to ocean issues. Alex is really excited to be here for it has been a dream of hers to work in an environment that uses all of her skills, experience, and interests in combining science and policy, and passion for outreach and science communication.


2021 Natural Resource Policy Fellows


Assignment: Kyle will be working with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Oregon Coastal Management Program to seek consultation with representatives of Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribal nations to create procedures and policies to facilitate meaningful and transparent coordination and consultation with Tribal Nations during federal consistency reviews.

Education: Kyle graduated with a B.S. in Zoology from Texas A&M University at College Station and recently earned her M.S. in Conflict and Dispute Resolution from the University of Oregon. Her graduate research focused on the use of collaborative governance processes to manage environmental resource conflicts, with a focus on the marine sector.

Professional and Research Interests: Kyle’s interests in natural resource policy primarily stem from the 13 years she served as a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps, supporting the collection of scientific and stock assessment data to inform marine resource management. Her graduate studies have shifted her interests into how to best integrate the human dimensions of resource conflict into management strategies through the design of effective collaborative processes and public participation opportunities. Through this fellowship, Kyle looks forward to gaining hands-on experience in policy analysis, policy implementation, and community engagement.



Assignment: Joanna will be working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to explore the opportunities and obstacles for pursuing blue carbon projects in the Pacific Northwest. Blue carbon utilizes processes within coastal and marine ecosystems to capture carbon from the atmosphere. So far, carbon projects in Oregon have been focused on terrestrial systems, and TNC aims to include blue carbon in regional climate solution policies.

Education: Joanna graduated from University of Oregon with a B.S. in Biology in 2019 and earned a M.S. from the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in 2020. Her graduate work involved oceanographic research cruises, underwater imaging, and environmental sensing to study vertical distributions and migrations of pyrosomes off Oregon and northern California.

Professional and Research Interests: Joanna is interested in the complex interactions between marine life and their environment. She has particular interest in the pelagic ecosystems and understanding shifts in community structure and distributions due to climate change. Joanna is excited to leverage her experience in research to contribute to the development of climate solutions.



Assignment: Kendall will be working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for her assignment as a 2021-2022 Natural Resource Policy Fellow. The primary objective of this position will be to work with members of the Marine Resource Program within ODFW to develop and write a Conservation and Fishery Management Plan for red abalone in Oregon. As changes in the marine environment continue to be difficult to predict, the importance of having a plan in place to protect, manage and conserve this imperiled species is high.  

Education: Kendall graduated with a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Oregon and is currently in her second year of her M.S. in Marine Biology at the University of Oregon. Her master’s research project is a collaboration between ODFW and the UO to determine biological background information of red abalone populations in Oregon to inform management decisions.  

Professional and Research Interests: Kendall has a particular passion for utilizing biological and ecological population level information for application in industry and management. She believes that effective and sustainable management includes community involvement and dynamic solutions. Kendall is passionate about invertebrates and has focused on the ecological and biological issues facing the subtidal environment in Oregon for her master’s project. She hopes to continue to find unique and effective ways to study and manage Oregon’s marine resources in her future career. 


2020 Natural Resource Policy Fellow


ASSIGNMENT: In her time as a 2020-2021 Natural Resource Policy Fellow, Hailey will be working with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Oregon Coastal Management Program to create an erosion control guidebook for the Oregon coast. The guidebook will provide stakeholders with an organized resource on typical erosion control treatments for the Oregon coast and will cover the treatments’ permitting and regulation, the best available science on their performance and impacts, and their resilience to sea level rise impacts, along with other topics as needed.

EDUCATION: Hailey graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a M.S. in Coastal Engineering from Oregon State University. Her graduate research focused on the physics of scarp formation in beach dunes and involved a large-scale dune experiment in the OH Hinsdale Wave Research Lab.

PROFESSIONAL AND RESEARCH INTERESTS: Although her degrees are in engineering, Hailey believes that using engineering solutions alone to respond sea level rise, erosion, and natural coastal change will not solve long-term coastal challenges. Her professional interest is in using a combination of engineering, research, and policy to address coastal issues in a more sustainable manner. Through this fellowship, she hopes to learn more about the field of coastal policy while contributing a technical perspective to the conversation around erosion control treatments on the Oregon coast.