Wisconsin Coastal Management-Sea Grant Fellow (Lake Superior)

Wisconsin Sea Grant

Superior, WI, USA 🇺🇸

Seeking postdoctoral and post-master’s applicants for the J. Philip Keillor Wisconsin Coastal Management-Sea Grant Fellow (Lake Superior)


Application Deadline:  October 17, 2021

The Wisconsin Sea Grant College Program and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program seek postdoctoral and post-master’s candidates interested in tackling science and policy challenges related to increasing coastal community resilience across the Great Lakes region, with a focus on Wisconsin and Minnesota’s Lake Superior shoreline. Together, these programs will host this state Science-Policy Fellow position, named in honor of a longtime Sea Grant coastal engineering expert Phil Keillor, to celebrate his legacy in building resilience in Wisconsin communities. The Fellow will work closely with Wisconsin Coastal Management Program’s staff, Sea Grant’s climate and tourism outreach specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension staff, and coastal engineers, scientists, local government representatives, and researchers from a variety of fields to tackle the important challenge of connecting science related to coastal hazards with communities that benefit from the information.

This Fellow position provides a unique educational and career opportunity for a recent graduate interested both in coastal resources and the policy decisions affecting those resources in Wisconsin. This program places a recent master’s or doctoral graduate within a state agency full-time for one year, with the Fellow bringing technical skills to address water issues while receiving valuable real-world science-policy experience from the resource professionals who serve as mentors. These mutual partnerships result in advancing science to support policy decisions as well as valuable training opportunities for new professionals entering the work force. This fellowship opportunity emphasizes personal and professional growth through significant flexibility as the fellow develops their project goals and approach and gains experience with community-engaged science and research. Community-engaged science and research relies on building a relationship with a community, developing trust, and practicing in the co-production of science that can benefit the community in decision-making. Each fellow gains experience working at this interface, experimenting with approaches that may be effective (and also learning through those that might not be), and learning how best to translate their strengths into science that is actionable.

There is significant flexibility in the specific questions and approaches that the Fellow will tackle and employ, and we seek applicants from a variety of backgrounds including engineering, social sciences, geology, meteorology, geography, ecological modeling, limnology, etc. With increasingly fluctuating water levels in the Great Lakes, demand for guidance on resilience is high and there are many opportunities for the Fellow’s work to help coastal communities facing hazardous conditions. A key opportunity for this particular fellowship involves coordinating and advancing tasks identified by the Coastal Hazards of Lake Superior (CHAOS) community of practice. Current critical questions articulated by this diverse stakeholder group include:  What is the vision for the community? How can the community increase the impact of its work and be sustainable over the long term? How does it best serve Lake Superior coastal communities in managing coastal hazards? How could this model for community-engaged science apply to Lake Michigan coastal communities? The Fellow will design an approach and play a key role in facilitating the group as it works through these and other questions. An interest in developing meeting coordination and facilitation skills and program evaluation techniques would be beneficial.

This Fellow is intended to be stationed at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (LSNERR) on Barkers Island in Superior, WI, interacting closely with LSNERR and co-located Sea Grant staff as well as the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program at the Department of Administration. Superior and Wisconsin’s Lake Superior coast is an area with ample outdoor recreation opportunities, cultural and civic events, and innovative university and public-school options. The fellowship may involve occasional travel, including overnight stays.

UW-Madison is an Equal Employment, Equal Access Employer committed to increasing the diversity of our workforce. Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals. The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background-people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

More detail on the fellowship is below. If you have any questions, please contact:

Jennifer Hauxwell at [email protected].


Any student or postgraduate who will have graduated in the past five years with a degree in an applicable field (see above) is eligible to apply. Fellows must have completed all degree requirements before starting the fellowship.

Stipend and Expenses

Annual stipends are dependent on the Fellow’s academic background, with post master’s Fellows earning $40,000 and postdoctoral Fellows earning $55,000, both with additional benefits (see – http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/benefits/new-emp/grad.aspx). Fellows will be allotted up to $2,000 to cover fellowship-related travel and can include conferences. Additional travel associated with the fellowship may be covered by the host agency at the agency’s discretion.

Application Requirements

Application packages should be sent to [email protected] at the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute and should include:

  1. A personal statement that describes your background and abilities, your expectations from the fellowship experience, and how this experience fits with your career goals (2 pages or fewer)
  2. Curriculum vitae with relevant educational, professional and volunteer experience (no length limit)
  3. Copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts
  4. Up to 4 writing samples, both formal and informal (e.g., journal articles or other technical documents, popular articles, web resources, etc.)
  5. Contact information for two professional references, including a faculty member from your graduating institution familiar with your academic record

Please use the naming convention “Last name – description of file” for all files associated with the application (e.g. “Smith – cover letter”, “Smith – cv”, “Smith – transcripts”, etc.).

Selection Process

Wisconsin Sea Grant and Wisconsin Coastal Management staff will identify a short list of candidates for interviews. Interviews will be conducted by a panel with representatives from both programs to determine the best fit for the position. It is expected that applicants will possess a strong background/training in an applicable field, strong analytical skills, an ability to manage projects and work independently, and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Length of Assignment

The length of assignment is one year with an anticipated start in early 2022. This timeline may be adjusted to accommodate academic semester needs or the needs of the candidates or funding institutions.

Host Agency Description

The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) is a state program within the Department of Administration, focused on coastal resources around the Great Lakes. They are federally funded through the National Coastal Zone Management Program which is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The aim of WCMP is to preserve and improve access to the natural and historic resources of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts. WCMP works with a network of federal, tribal, state, and local partners to support communities as they build resilience to coastal hazards. WCMP serves to connect coastal communities with resources and technical assistance through their extensive network of partners and provide financial assistance directly through their annual grants program. To learn more about WCMP, see: http://coastal.wisconsin.gov.


October 17, 2021 – Deadline for submission of applications

Late October/early November – Interviews

November-January (approx.) – Fellowship begins

Note: Timeline may need to be flexible and may evolve amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, adhering to all University of Wisconsin-Madison and state directives and guidance.

0 days remaining

Apply by 17 October, 2021