The application period for the 2020 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program is now open. Applications are due by December 6, 2019 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. Download a copy of the Full Funding Opportunity (FFO) announcement with directions to apply.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program provides support for master’s and doctoral degrees in oceanography, marine biology, or maritime archaeology—this can include, but is not limited to, ocean and/or coastal: engineering, social science, marine education, marine stewardship, and resource management disciplines—and particularly encourages women and members of minority groups to apply. Scholarship selections are based on academic excellence, letters of recommendations, research and career goals and financial need.

In order to have a competitive application for the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, it is recommended that you review the following bullets to assess whether or not you should apply for this scholarship.

  • Your research proposal aligns closely with NOAA's mission, with particular emphasis on meeting the science needs of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. This is 20% of your application score.
  • Your financial need statement documents a strong financial need due to challenges, hardships, or other information through a compelling personal narrative. This is 25% of your application score.
  • You (likely) have exceptional letters of recommendation. This is 10% of your application score.
  • Historically, proposals that do not support the science needs of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System do not rank as high.
  • If you are in the last year of your Masters or Ph.D. program, it is not advised to apply for this scholarship.

Class of 2019

Elise Keister

Elise Keister

Her Ph.D. studies will focus on the impact warming ocean waters will have on foundational coral species in the tropics.

Erin Arneson

Erin Arneson

Her Ph.D. studies focus the impacts of ocean acidification on benthic invertebrates.

Jenna Hartley

Jenna Hartley

Her Ph.D. studies will focus on the role of students as environmental change-agents in their communities.

Nury Molina

Nury Molina

Her Ph.D. studies will focus on the role of herbivorous fish in promoting coral reef resilience.

Venessa ZoBell

Vanessa ZoBell

Her Ph.D. studies will focus on quantifying noise pollution produced from ships in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Meet the Scholars

Dr. Nancy Foster

Dr. Nancy FosterDr. Foster was a marine biologist known for her science-based conservation of coastal aquatic life. Dr. D. James Baker, the former Administrator of NOAA, asked Dr. Foster to be the new head of National Ocean Service (NOS) in 1997. During her short stay at the National Ocean Service, she increased the agency's strength and stature, and positioned NOS to lead the nation in coastal stewardship. The reinvention and invigoration of NOS, completed in 1999, was conceptualized and developed under her guidance.

Dr. Nancy Foster's Legacy

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster

The NOAA Ship Nancy Foster (R 352) commissioned May 10, 2004.

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholars can expect support by NOAA throughout their scholarship experience, as well as help to create a pathway to a future career. NOAA staff will mentor and foster collaborative experiences for each scholar. Through hands-on research, policy and education, the National Marine Sanctuary System provides a classroom away from universities and colleges to allow for students to experience real world science in some of the United States most special underwater treasures and to become ambassadors for NOAA and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Julia Barrows

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program applicants are encouraged to document how their research activities support NOAA's mission, particularly the mission of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and the science priorities and specific needs assessment of the National Marine Sanctuary System.