The application period for the 2022 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program has closed. The application period for 2023 will open in October 2022.

The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program provides support for master’s and doctoral degrees in oceanography, marine biology, maritime archaeology—these may include but are not limited to ocean and/or coastal: engineering, social science, marine education, marine stewardship, cultural anthropology, and resource management disciplines—and particularly encourages women and members of minority groups to apply.

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.

  1. Your research proposal aligns closely with NOAA's mission, with particular emphasis on meeting the science priorities of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. This is 30% of your application score.
  2. 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.
  3. You have exceptional letters of recommendation. This is 10% of your application score.
  4. Historically, proposals that do not support the science or education priorities of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary System do not rank as high.
  5. 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 2020

Brijonnay Madrigal

Brijonnay Madrigal

Her Ph.D. studies will focus on passive acoustic monitoring techniques, to quantify and characterize the acoustic behavior of Hawaiian resident toothed whale species.

Sarah Hutchinson

Sarah Hutchinson

Her Masters research will focus on using Wedge-tailed Shearwaters as indicators of ecologically important areas and processes in the waters within and surrounding Hawaiian Islands.

Tamara Russell

Tamara Russell

Her Ph.D. studies will focus on seabird habitat use within the California Current, specifically understanding how West Coast national marine sanctuaries capture areas that are important for seabird foraging.

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.