Skip to main content

NC Sea Grant Accepting Applications for NC STEM Policy Fellows

For Immediate Release

Sara Mirabilio,, 252-475-5488
Katie Mosher,, 919-515-9069

North Carolina Sea Grant is accepting applications for a new fellowship that will place graduate students, who have been trained at North Carolina institutions of higher education, into state government offices as science and technology fellows.

“This new NC STEM Policy Fellowship — focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics — provides a unique, in-state, non-academic career opportunity that may lead to greater retention of these highly trained individuals in state,” notes Susan White, North Carolina Sea Grant executive director.

Sea Grant will administer the pilot program in 2020-21. Funds provided through Sea Grant and a generous matching grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund allow for two fellowships to begin Aug. 1, 2020. The fellowships are full-time positions at 40 hours per week working with the host offices. 

One fellow will be placed at the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Office of Science, Technology & Innovation. Areas of work may include (but are not limited to): assistance with policies to support offshore wind energy; implementing recommendations provided in the “North Carolina’s Opportunities in the Data Economy” report; drafting work plans and/or policy recommendations crafted by the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation; and engaging with board members and other key stakeholders to address statewide income and innovation inequality.

One fellow will be placed at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s State Energy Office. Areas of work may include (but not be limited to) items related to the state’s Climate Risk Assessment and Resiliency Plan. Executive Order 80 requires that the plan be submitted to Gov. Roy Cooper in March 2020. The fellow may help explore policy options/solutions for prioritized recommended actions. The fellow also may work on items related to the N.C. Clean Energy Plan, such as evaluating policy designs for carbon reduction strategies, like offshore wind energy.

Applications are due March 2.

The 12-month fellowship also includes a competitive stipend, health care costs, and associated travel and training opportunities during the year. Total value of the fellowship is $54,500. For details, go online to:

North Carolina’s program is modeled after successful national-level fellowships — the National Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship — as well as the California Council on Science and Technology’s Science Fellows Program.

“The North Carolina fellows will gain valuable real-world experience, and professional development opportunities, working directly with host offices engaged in STEM policy and policymaking processes,” explains Sara Mirabilio, Sea Grant’s coordinator for the new fellowship.

“Host offices also benefit from access to impartial, science-savvy fellows to help them make critical decisions,” adds Mirabilio, who was a Knauss fellow earlier in her career.

In addition, professional and network development opportunities for fellows are expanding in partnership with Sigma Xi, the international honor society of science and engineering. Some opportunities may be provided in Summer 2020.

Eligibility for the 2020-21 NC STEM Policy Fellowship: 

  • Applicants must receive a graduate degree no later than Dec. 31, 2020, and no earlier than Dec. 1, 2019.
  • The master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM or related discipline must be earned through one of North Carolina’s accredited, public or private institutes of higher education.
  • Students are eligible regardless of nationality. Domestic and international students may apply.
  • Applicants must have an interest in state and national policy decisions on STEM topics.

Deadline: Completed applications are due by 8 a.m. on Monday, March 2, 2020.

The following materials are required for application submission via the North Carolina eSeaGrant portal:

  • Resume (not to exceed two pages using 12-point font and 1-inch margins).
  • A career goal statement that emphasizes the applicant’s abilities and expectations for the fellowship experience (1,000 words or fewer using 12-point font and 1-inch margins).
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from the student’s major professor. If no major professor exists, a letter from the faculty member who is most familiar with the applicant’s academic work may be substituted.
  • Copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

Planning for the N.C. program dates to 2016, when North Carolina Sea Grant, in partnership with two Duke University doctoral students, received a one-year planning grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to assess feasibility of a statewide science and technology policy fellowship.

The NC STEM Policy Fellowship program, including its funders and host offices, is committed to championing diversity, equity, and inclusion by proactively recruiting, retaining, and preparing a diverse workforce; and engaging and serving communities that are representative of the populations where this program operates.

For more information on the fellowship, or if you represent a state office interested in hosting future NC STEM policy fellows, contact Sara Mirabilio:, or 252-475-5488.

North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link for research and resources for a healthier coast