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RAY Conservation Fellow/Program Assistant

Job Location

Washington, D.C. (This role could be remote depending upon COVID-19 trends, but as of January 31, 2022, IFAW’s U.S. team plans to resume in-office operations before the Fellow’s term begins.)


Type of Job



$45,000 - $50,000

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Feb 9, 2022

About the job

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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.


Mission: The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish.

Values: Together, our programs are designed to deliver immediate and lasting impact for animals, people and the place we call home. Each is based in science, rooted in local communities, globally scalable, economically viable, and always for the long term.

U.S. Office: IFAW’s U.S. team works to influence policymakers and champion efforts to implement bold and forward-thinking domestic and international policies that strengthen U.S. technical and financial contributions to protect wildlife around the globe. Through innovative partnerships, such as working with the lobster industry to save right whales, IFAW-U.S. drives changes that reach across sectors, and the political aisle, while prioritizing human and animal well-being.

IFAW’s U.S. campaigns and projects include:

  • Working to save the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale through legislative action, industry engagement, and on-the-ground response;
  • Protecting imperiled species through petitions for listing under the Endangered Species Act, in addition to defending the Act itself;
  • Promoting coexistence with native wildlife through education and policy initiatives;
  • Advancing legislation to rein in trade in captive wildlife, including big cats, across the U.S. and around the world;
  • Building coalitions and supporting federal policy reforms designed to prevent future pandemics;
  • Responding directly to natural disasters to support communities on the ground and reunite families with their companion animals, while working with members of Congress to improve federal emergency response;
  • Partnering with industry leaders in online commerce and communications to address wildlife cybercrime;
  • Building support for federal appropriations provisions to fund wildlife and habitat protections;
  • Collaborating with wildlife sanctuaries and rescuers across the U.S. and around the world and ensuring that their experiences are reflected in policy proposals;
  • Leading education initiatives for all age groups to build awareness of and support for wildlife conservation; and
  • Other efforts to safeguard wildlife and habitat globally.


Under the direction of the U.S. Director & Senior Legislative Manager, this position executes projects and tasks to further global Program initiatives, implements the U.S. strategic plan, and drives policy and advocacy priorities within the U.S. market. This interdisciplinary role includes engagement across program areas, with substantive involvement in policy campaigns to stop wildlife trafficking, improve natural disaster response, safeguard imperiled species, support human-wildlife coexistence, advance marine mammal conservation, prevent future pandemics, and otherwise protect wildlife and companion animals around the world.

Program and advocacy work may include researching and collating information on conservation issues and public policy, participating in NGO coalitions, drafting outreach materials for target audiences, expanding IFAW’s advocate network, participating in meetings with the Administration and Congress, and representing Programs and the organization to both internal and external audiences as necessary. The Program Assistant is responsible for data collection related to monitoring and evaluating U.S. advocacy work to ensure alignment with and support of the Institutional Strategic Plan.


  • Research and synthesize information as directed by U.S. Director and Sr. Legislative Manager to support programmatic objectives, including for wildlife crime, disaster response, and marine conservation
  • Manage specific aspects of program and advocacy initiatives and take a leadership role in ensuring they meet targets, budgets and deadlines
  • Collect and input data into IFAW systems to support the monitoring and evaluation of U.S. advocacy work
  • Support formation of the International Conservation Action Network (ICAN) to grow IFAW’s network of activists and supporters
  • Liaise with all departments within IFAW HQ, and IFAW offices globally, as required to support the U.S. Office and Programs
  • Participate in relevant NGO coalitions and develop a network of professional contacts and organizations that help to further IFAW’s priorities and objectives
  • Contribute to IFAW U.S. strategic planning and identification of new Program and advocacy opportunities
  • Conduct additional tasks as requested (Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive list of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities will change from time to time to meet the needs of the department and organization.)


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-ins 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 2022.
  • A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in September 2023.


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 1 year out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2022 (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. Applicable fields of study include but are not limited to biology, conservation biology, environmental management, public policy and international relations. (Please note that graduates from all disciplines with relevant experience/interests are invited to apply; the foregoing list is intended to provide just a few examples of relevant disciplines.)
  • An interest in and commitment to wildlife conservation.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong research skills and experience.
  • An eagerness to learn.
  • Familiarity with—or commitment to building knowledge of—international wildlife protection issues, policies, organizations and networks.
  • Understanding or interest in learning about U.S. legislative and regulatory processes, as well as direct and grassroots advocacy. Federal policy experience is preferred but not required.
  • Strong writing skills with the ability to draft technical reports, briefing documents, strategic analyses, fact sheets and other informational materials.
  • Organization, self-motivation and ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to multitask, communicate with diverse audiences, and meet tight deadlines when necessary.
  • Highly effective interpersonal, communication and organizational skills.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and practice cultural competency in working with individuals from varying educational, social, and cultural backgrounds.


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2022.


The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities. Salary range for this position is $45,000-50,000 per year.


To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

  1. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website:
  2. Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a resume or curriculum vitae, one essay response, one visioning response, one short answer response, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than March 27, 2022. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. If you have questions please see our FAQ page, attend an informational webinar or watch a recording, and any further questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Program Coordinator, Maria Johnson, via email at

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) 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. IFAW 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.


IFAW strongly encourages vaccination against COVID-19 and requires that all US staff report vaccination status. Personnel who are unvaccinated are required to wear a mask at all times while in the office and while representing IFAW at in-person meetings/events, and must submit a negative COVID-19 test at least once per week.

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