Senior Capstone

Begin Your Career

At Rhode Island Sea Grant, we are dedicated to providing new and exciting opportunities for students to engage in marine and coastal issues. Our aim is increasing knowledge and awareness of coastal and marine ecosystems for the next generation of professionals so that they may be stewards of these valuable resources.

We are committed to providing hands-on experiences for students across disciplines through fellowships, assistantships, and internships to work with communities on real problems.



Two communications internship opportunities are available to support the educational, outreach, and research communications efforts of Rhode Island Sea Grant.

These internships are for senior and junior undergraduate students at colleges and universities in Rhode Island and are intended to help us develop content highlighting issues of ocean and coastal resources, research, and human interest for public audiences. These internships will focus on story development through reporting/writing and/or videography. Assistance with/attendance at public events may also be required. Please review our website and social media platforms before applying and include your skill set, experience, area of interest, and references in your cover letter.


These are paid internships of 10 hours per week and course credit may also be available. Experience in reporting and/or video production and editing are preferred. An ability to work independently and take appropriate initiative is important, as are strong interpersonal and written communication skills.

To Apply: Applications are received on a rolling basis. Please email your resume and cover letter with two samples of your work to Monica Allard Cox, Rhode Island Sea Grant Communications Director, at

Reporting & Writing

Conduct interviews and report on Sea Grant-related projects.

Social Media

Curate content to showcase Sea Grant’s work and topics relevant to communities.


Build a stronger sense of visual storytelling.

Web & Graphic Design

Help create a visually appealing and functional digital platform.


Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Fellowship




Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Fellow Program: Rhode Island Sea Grant sponsors law students as Sea Grant Law Fellows to research and write on ocean and coastal law issues including the resolution of marine resource management and conservation issues.

Established in October 2003, the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program located at the Marine Affairs Institute at Roger Williams University School of Law is one of only four Sea Grant legal programs in the nation.

The Legal Program responds to research requests from state and regional agencies and other Sea Grant constituents on coastal zone management, fisheries, public access, aquaculture, ports and harbors, and other areas of marine law.  The Legal Program is prohibited from providing legal advice or becoming involved in litigation.

The information provided by the program’s students and attorneys is intended for informational purposes only.

For more information, please contact Read Porter, Staff Attorney, Marine Affairs Institute, at or by telephone at 401-254-5734.

Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship





The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

The Fellowship, named after one of Sea Grant’s founders, former NOAA Administrator and Dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, John A. Knauss, matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C., area for a one-year paid fellowship.

Rhode Island Sea Grant may forward the nomination of up to six students annually for this prestigious fellowship to the National Sea Grant College Program, which convenes a final selection panel to review all applications submitted nationally. Applicants must be enrolled in a U.S. accredited graduate or professional degree program in a marine or aquatic-related field in the U.S. or its territories.

If you are interested in applying or have additional questions, please contact Kim Ohneemus, Education Coordinator, Rhode Island Sea Grant,

For more information on stipend/expenses and how to apply, please visit that National Sea Grant website.
2024 Application Period Now Open!

Application Process Overview:

Any graduate students, regardless of citizenship, in the natural and social sciences as well as law or related fields who are enrolled through an accredited institution towards a degree at any point between the onset of the 2022 Fall Term and February 16, 2023, and have a demonstrated interest in ocean and coastal issues are invited to apply for this paid fellowship. Students must apply to the Sea Grant program at the state in which they are enrolled. 


Rhode Island applications are due to the Rhode Island Sea Grant office by February 16, 2023 at 5 p.m. 


Important, detailed information about application requirements and resources for prospective applicants may be found here:


Rhode Island Sea Grant Information Sessions

Will be held virtually on ZOOM and recorded


Session 1: Introduction to Rhode Island Sea Grant 

Wednesday November 30, 2022, 3:00-4:00 PM


Session 2: The Knauss Application Process

Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 4:00-5:00 PM


Session 3: Office hours and General Q+A

Friday, January 13, 2023, 1:00-2:00 PM  


Click here to register for Information Sessions

For more information, you may also see the Knauss Fellowship section on the Rhode Island Sea Grant website at

Master of Environmental Science and Management Fellowship




Rhode Island Sea Grant supports two students for the academic year from the Master of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) program at the University of Rhode Island to work with scientists in developing solutions to the pressing problems facing coastal and marine communities.

The purpose of the program is to give MESM Fellows opportunity to contribute to the work of Sea Grant programs and gain hands-on experience in coastal ecosystem management. Focal topics of activity include fishery management, managing for sustainable coastal communities, aquaculture, marine spatial planning, and coastal zone management policy and law.

Fellows are assigned to a Sea Grant mentor who directs their work. MESM Fellows will develop their major paper project around the issue they work on with the Sea Grant scientists.

The MESM (Master of Environmental Science and Management) program is an interdisciplinary, professional degree that provides training to students interested in the application – and transfer – of science to environmental problem solving. The program builds intellectual depth through advising tracks and focused coursework in such as Sustainable Systems, Conservation Biology, Geosciences, Coastal Watersheds, and Spatial Analysis. MESM builds intellectual breadth through a mix of multi-disciplinary courses, development of real-world problem-solving skills through professional internships, and a capstone project in environmental management. MESM students work on practical issues in coastal ecosystem management, fisheries and aquaculture, water resource management, and creating sustainable and resilient communities.

Coastal Fellowship





Rhode Island Sea Grant sponsors undergraduate Coastal Fellows through the Coastal Fellows Program of URI’s College of Environment and Life Sciences that is aimed at addressing emerging environmental problems from a range of disciplines and technologies.

The Coastal Fellowship Program provides training in both the classroom and applied venues to maximize educational opportunities. Coastal Fellows work within vertically integrated research or outreach teams that are problem-driven by nature.

Teams involve some mix of faculty, research or outreach staff, Land and Sea Grant educators, post-doctorate fellows, community professionals, and graduate students. These multigenerational teams provide students with a range of learning experiences and project-related support. Students take responsibility for a small piece of the project’s overall research or outreach design and follow the work through to completion.

More >>

National Marine Fisheries Service-Sea Grant Fisheries Graduate Fellowship




The NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics is designed to help Sea Grant fulfill its broad educational responsibilities and to strengthen the collaboration between Sea Grant and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Since 1999, Sea Grant and NMFS have partnered to train students through this joint fellowship program in two specialized areas: population and ecosystem dynamics as well as marine resource economics. Population and ecosystem dynamics involve the study of fish populations and marine ecosystems to better assess fishery stock conditions and dynamics.

The goals of the NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship Program are:

  • To encourage qualified applicants to pursue careers in either population and ecosystem dynamics and stock assessment or in marine resource economics
  • To increase available expertise related to these fields
  • To foster closer relationships between academic scientists and NOAA Fisheries
  • To provide real-world experience to graduate students and accelerate their career development.

To help achieve the goals of the fellowship, each Fellow will be required to work closely with an expert (mentor) from NOAA Fisheries who will serve on the Fellow’s committee. The mentor may also provide access to research data sources and to working/laboratory space in a NOAA Fisheries research facility and/or research vessel, if appropriate.


The Fisheries Fellowship is available to US citizens who are graduate students enrolled in PhD degree programs in academic institutions in the United States and its territories. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply. Foreign Nationals are not eligible.

Length of Fellowship

Ph.D. candidates interested in the population and ecosystem dynamics of living marine resources and the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing their status can receive up to three years of funding. Ph.D. students in marine resource economics, concentrating on the conservation and management of living marine resources, can receive two years of funding.

How to Apply

Opportunities are posted late in the calendar year. Applications are typically due in January.

The 2022 Fellowship Opportunity has been announced. Please see for the full announcement.

For more information, please contact your local Sea Grant Program or

NOAA Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowship





This program’s mission is to provide on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resources management and policy for postgraduate students and to provide project assistance to state coastal zone management agencies and other key NOAA partners.

These two-year fellowships are offered by the NOAA Coastal Management Program.


For more information, see


For more information or application questions please contact Alan Desbonnet, Assistant Director, Rhode Island Sea Grant,  email: 

Photo ©Jesse Burke

Senior Capstone

Rhode Island Sea Grant Community-Planning Specialists work to make Sea Grant’s signature senior capstone project meaningful for both the students and community.

Students from an array of disciplines work together to solve real-world problems in local communities through design, policy, and economics.

This project combines student skill sets in landscape architecture, marine affairs, ocean engineering, and natural resources economics in a one-of-a-kind collaborative project that engages students across sectors but also with community professionals to learn about issues related to sea level rise, flooding, and other coastal hazards.






For more information, please contact Alan Desbonnet at


Coastal Resilience Overlays for Bristol County

Coastal resilience overlays may be a useful tool in helping communities become more resilient.

Capstone Experience Connects URI Students, Coastal Communities

URI students from a variety of disciplines come together to propose solutions for improving coastal resilience in real-world situations.

Fellowship Opportunities in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics

Applications may be submitted for the 2022 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics. Sea Grant...

Announcing 2023 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship opportunity

The National Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship is now accepting applications for the 2023 Fellowship program.Knauss Fellows will...

Announcing 2022 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship – Applications Open

Qualified individuals are invited to submit applications to the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship national competition. Selected...

Where Do All the Microplastics Go?

URI Coastal Fellows investigate the location, concentration, and movement of microplastics in Narragansett Bay.

Oysters Clear the Waters, but Do They Muddy the Soil?

Oysters have been shown to improve water quality, so researchers decided to investigate what happens to the seafloor soils beneath oyster farms where copious amounts of poop hit the ground.

Why There’s No Such Thing as Organic Seafood in the U.S. (mostly)

Sea Grant Law Fellow research uncovers complex issues, risks for would-be organic seafood growers If you prefer to buy organic food whenever...

The Drive to Effect Change Through Law

Knauss Fellow reflects on path from seafood trader to policy aide to lawyer Nicholas Obolensky, part of the Knauss Fellows class of 2013, had always...

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