Who applies for our fellowships?

By: Loretta Leist / Published: May 11,  2017

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant collects applications for three different national-level fellowships every year. Applicants for these three fellowships originate from 33 Sea Grant programs. Under special conditions, Sea Grant Programs occasionally accept applications from students in states other than their own. This does not interfere with the chances of the local students.

The overwhelming majority of our fellowship applicants are female (71%).

Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Our most popular fellowship is the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship (Knauss). During this prestigious fellowship, graduate students are assigned to either an executive branch office (such as a line office of NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service…) or to an office in the legislative branch (such as a senator’s or congressperson’s office) and work in Washington, D.C., for a year. MASGC is allowed to forward six applications for national-level review.

The Sea Grant Knauss Class of 2013 meets then-Acting NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan. 
Photo credit: Derek Parks/Skewed Patella Photography
The Sea Grant Knauss Class of 2013 meets then-Acting NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan. Photo credit: Derek Parks/Skewed Patella Photography

2017 was our busiest year for applications so far. MASGC had 11 total applications: six were forwarded to the national level and are pending. Of these 11, three were from the University of Southern Alabama (USA) and Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), two were from Auburn University (AU), two were from Jackson State University (JSU), two were from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), one was from Mississippi State University (MSU) and one was from USA. Five are Ph.D. students, and six are master’s students.

Between 2006 and 2016, MASGC had 37 applications from:

  • USA and/or DISL: 11 applications, 3 awarded fellowships
  • USM: 8 applications, 2 awarded fellowships
  • AU: 5 applications, 0 awarded fellowships
  • UM (law school): 3 applications, 0 awarded fellowships
  • UA: 3 applications, 0 awarded fellowships
  • UAB: 3 applications, 3 awarded fellowships
  • MSU: 2 applications, 2 awarded fellowships
  • Other institutions outside of Mississippi and Alabama:2 applications, 1 awarded fellowship

Of those 37 applications, 68 percent were master’s-level students, 27 percent were doctoral students and 5 percent were Juris Doctor students. Twelve (32 percent) of these students were selected and placed. Two were placed in the legislative branch, and 10 in the executive branch.

By comparison, the National Sea Grant Office supplied the following for the 2016 national-level Knauss competition:

  • They received 125 applications from 29 Sea Grant programs.
  • There were 65 (52 percent) Sea Grant Knauss finalists selected.
  • 78 percent were female, 22 percent male.
  • 82 percent were assigned to the executive branch.
  • 18 percent were assigned to the legislative branch.
  • 54 percent were master’s-level students, 38 percent were doctoral students, and 8 percent were Juris Doctor students.

NOAA Fisheries-Sea Grant fellowships

The National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) fellowships are unique in that they support a graduate student’s research project in population and ecosystem dynamics or marine resource economics. Students apply as if they were applying for a grant and write a proposal to support their thesis. This opportunity open to Ph.D. students only.

Since 2009, MASGC has had five total applications: two applications from USA, two applications from USM and one application from the University of Tennessee. Of these, we have had two successful applicants; one male and one female, both from USA. Our 2017 application is pending notification.

NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship

The Coastal Management Fellowship is a fellowship opportunity for students who want to work in a resource management-related field. Graduate students are assigned to a state management agency and work on a project with them for two years. MASGC is only allowed to forward three applications for national-level review.

Since 2006, MASGC has had 17 total applications. More than half of the applications (10) were received in the past two years.

MASGC had four applications from AU, four from DISL/USA, two from MSU, three from USM, two from the UM, one from USA (not DISL) and one from JSU. Of these, we had one applicant selected to be a candidate, but they elected not to pursue the fellowship.


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