Foster Scholars posing behind the Dr. Nancy Foster Florida Keys Complex sign

The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program is dedicated to ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of every action and every decision. We know that having varied perspectives helps generate better ideas to solve the complex problems of a changing world. To be effective stewards we must ensure our programs reflect the communities in which we live, work, and play. The longevity and success of our system depends on creating a culture that is welcoming and inclusive of all.

The application period for the 2024 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program has closed. The application period for 2025 will open by the end of October 2024.

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 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and women to apply.

In order to have a competitive application for the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, you need to demonstrate academic excellence and financial need. 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 worth up to 30 points 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 worth up to 25 points of your application score.
  3. You have exceptional letters of recommendation. This is worth up to 10 points 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.

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

Class of 2023

Picture of Laura Kate Anthony

Laura Kate Anthony

Her dissertation focuses on how different environmental variables influence deep-sea coral reproduction.

Picture of Amanda Nichole Croteau

Amanda Nichole Croteau

Utilizing Siderastrea siderea isotope geochemistry, Amanda aims to reconstruct past climate, understand the biochemical effects of coral disease, and predict future ocean conditions of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Picture of Serina Moheed

Serina Moheed

Serina has partnered with the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary to investigate seagrass wasting disease in Tomales Bay, an estuary with a natural temperature gradient.

Picture of Kailey Pascoe

Kailey Pascoe

Kailey's goal is to honor her heritage by using science and innovative technologies to comprehend how coral reefs respond to climate change, and how science can aid management efforts to reverse their rapid decline.

Picture of Allyson Genevieve Ropp

Allyson Genevieve Ropp

Her doctoral research aims to integrate archaeology, microbial ecology, hydrology, and geospatial sciences to characterize and evaluate wooden shipwreck degradation.

Picture of Yasamin Sharifi

Yasamin Sharifi

Her Ph.D. research seeks to better understand how the cycling of nutrients (particularly nitrogen) in coastal areas interacts with anthropogenic and environmental drivers to influence the bottom-up ecology of kelp forest ecosystems.

Picture of Philip Fan Yang

Philip Fan Yang

Philip's research will focus on generating a spatial and temporal understanding of environmental variability in mesophotic coral and coralline macroalgae ecosystems in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Meet the Scholars

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.