RAY Conservation Diversity Fellow: Natural Resource Specialist (OR)

Job Location

Portland, OR (temporarily remote)


Published By

Publisher Name

Type of Job



$40k baseline salary

Published Date

Feb 2, 2021

About the job

Apply Now


Inspired by efforts to increase racial diversity in conservation and clean energy, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Diversity 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.

ABOUT NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat. We provide vital services for the nation: productive and sustainable fisheries, safe sources of seafood, the recovery and conservation of protected resources, and healthy ecosystems—all backed by sound science and an ecosystem-based approach to management.

The resilience of our marine ecosystems and coastal communities depends on healthy marine species, including protected species such as whales, sea turtles, corals, and salmon. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), NOAA Fisheries works to recover protected marine species while allowing economic and recreational opportunities.

NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. We have five regional offices, six science centers, and more than 20 laboratories around the United States and U.S. territories. We work with partners across the nation with the values of humility, trust, collegiality, diversity, and competency.

NOAA Fisheries employs about 4,200 staff including scientists, analysts, technicians, policy managers, and enforcement officers, located across the country at our regional offices, science centers and labs, and national headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. The RAY Fellow will work within the West Coast Region’s (WCR’s)Protected Resources Division in Portland, Oregon. The Protected Resources Division is responsible for the conservation, protection, and recovery of marine and anadromous species, predominantly as related to the ESA and MMPA. Among the varied responsibilities of the Portland Branch of the Protected Resources Division, the branch is responsible for issuing scientific research permits, coordinating the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF), responding to petitions to list salmon and steelhead species under the ESA, coordinating species status reviews, providing geographic information system (GIS) services, and coordinating eulachon recovery.

NOAA Fisheries WCR is a multi-mission, geographically dispersed agency responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s ocean resources and its habitat. We consist of individuals with a wide range of characteristics and experiences who serve diverse communities across the region. We value a culture of inclusivity and support staff growth and learning. We believe a diverse and inclusive workforce ensures the best scientific outcomes. We use the collective experience of all our staff to create a productive workforce that is a leader in creating and sustaining diversity and inclusion.


The RAY Fellow will become a part of our important mission-driven work to conserve and protect species, prevent extinctions, and partner with many other organizations and stakeholders dedicated to species conservation. A team of open-minded individuals that are passionate about learning and sharing knowledge will mentor the RAY Fellow.

The RAY Fellow will assist the Portland Branch of the Protected Resources Division with much of our program work including:

● Issuing scientific research permits and authorizations that enable us to track research activities and their associated impact on protected species. The RAY Fellow will assist in the review and evaluation of research projects, as well as the development of permits/authorizations and supporting documentation (e.g., ESA biological opinions).

● Managing a large competitive grant program (PCSRF) that provides funding to States and Tribes to protect, conserve, and restore West Coast salmon and steelhead populations. The RAY Fellow will assist with developing outreach materials, coordinating the annual grant competition, analyzing data, reviewing grantee progress reports, creating reports to Congress, conducting site visits of habitat restoration projects, and other related responsibilities.

● Finalizing ESA status review updates for 28 species of salmon and steelhead. The Ray Fellow will assist with coordinating tasks associated with finalizing these reviews for publication, including assistance with developing outreach materials and coordinating with other programs in the West Coast Region.

● Participating in staff meetings, virtual coffee hours, and diversity and inclusion discussions.

● Attending presentations that showcase NOAA Fisheries’ varied array of conservation efforts and partnerships, including those based on Tribal treaty rights.

● Mentoring student interns. The Portland Branch hosts several student interns each year and the RAY Fellow will gain experience mentoring and coaching students.

The RAY Fellow will gain extensive experience writing, communicating scientific findings, conducting scientific analyses, reviewing grants and other federal policies and documents. The RAY Fellow will broaden their knowledge of the ESA and other federal laws and gain a deep understanding of conservation, protection, and recovery of endangered and threatened species. The RAY Fellow will also have many opportunities to participate in team meetings to share thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. The WCR offers frequent training for all staff to develop both personal and professional skills. The RAY Fellow will become a part of an awesome team that is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion to fulfill its conservation mission.


● Conduct literature reviews.

● Review applications to conduct scientific research on ESA-listed species to ensure that activities support recovery priorities and do not disadvantage any listed species.

● Assess scientific research authorizations and permits under the requirements of ESA.

● Learn about current research methods, techniques, and protocols and associated impacts on species.

● Conduct reviews of grantee progress reports under the PCSRF, including QA/QC (quality assurance/quality control) of project information entered in the project database.

● Assist with coordination and review of 5-year species status reviews under the ESA.

● Assist with data entry, database management, QA/QC, and statistical analysis.

● Assist with evaluating petitions to list species or designate critical habitat under the ESA.

● Technical writing opportunities (draft sections of Biological Opinions, technical memos, and outreach materials).

● Web content writing opportunities (e.g., PCSRF Report to Congress, story maps, and factsheets).

● If appropriate, conduct site visits to evaluate research projects.


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.

● Attending monthly check-in calls (including 1-on-1 check-ins with RAY program staff and group calls with their RAY Fellow cohort).

● 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.

● 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 August 2021.

● A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in August 2022.

● At least one other in-person training or workshop with their RAY Fellow cohort.


Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

● Come from a racial / ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

● Be no more than 1 year out of college and have a bachelor's degree by July 2021(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 two-year fellowship.


● A bachelor’s degree by the time of employment, preferably in biological sciences.

● An interest in the fields of biology, ecology, and conservation.

● Knowledge or interest in the life history of Pacific salmonids

● Effective written and verbal communication skills.

● An eagerness to learn and share knowledge and opinions.

● Demonstrated initiative in executing job functions.

● Ability to work with others to accomplish tasks and responsibilities.

● Interest in professional development.

● Interest in developing technical writing skills.

● Interest in working with diverse parties regarding species conservation (e.g., scientific researchers, tribes, private citizens, and governmental and non-governmental representatives).

● Preferably, some level of understanding of the Endangered Species Act and interest in species recovery.

● Preferably, some understanding of and interest in data management (e.g., database development, data mining, GIS, R code, data visualization, etc.)


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2021.


The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by the Environmental Leadership Program who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities. More details to follow.


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 curriculum vitae or a resume, responses to one essay, one visioning, and one short answer prompt, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than March 26, 2021. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. Questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Conservation Program Manager, Guilu Murphy, via email at guilu@elpnet.org.

NOAA Fisheries is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. NOAA Fisheries is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to achieving diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. We recognize that this is not a short-term goal but one that requires a deliberate, sustained effort. Understanding that diversity and inclusion are essential to fulfilling our mission, we will strive to cultivate a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, fairness and belonging. We recognize that employees, supervisors, and leaders at all levels play a critical role in realizing this vision.