The Island Fellows Program is one of the signature programs of the Island Institute. Since 1999, the Island Fellows Program has placed college and master’s degree graduates in Maine’s coastal and year-round island communities for one to two years. Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for recent graduates to apply their skills and gain experience helping to build sustainability within communities whose way of life and identity face many challenges.
The Island Fellows Program provides support for Maine's island and coastal communities by:
- Strengthening capacity for the local management of historical, cultural, natural, economic, and information resources
- Assisting in local research, planning, education, and technology projects
The Island Fellows Program provides support for the Island Fellows by:
- Offering enriching professional development opportunities for recent college graduates
- Building professional experiences and networks for Fellows looking to live and work in Maine
Awards and Recognition
- The Island Fellows Program was recognized with the "Outstanding Program" award by the Community Development Society.
- The Island Fellows Program is an official winner of the 2014 SHIFT Sustainability Award.
How does the Island Fellows Program work?
Island or remote coastal organizations apply to the Island Institute with a community supported project that could benefit from an extra set of hands (see the "Host a Fellow" section below). The Institute then finds highly qualified recent graduates to live for 24 months in residence in the community (see How to Be a Fellow). Immersion in the community connects fellows directly with islanders to gain an intimate understanding of island life and to understand the needs and opportunities around the identified project. Fellows are expected to be active participants in their community and bring their own experiences and skills to share.
Be a Fellow
The Fellowship application period is open from January until mid-March for a September program start. Top candidates are then interviewed in the island or coastal host communities by key contacts who will be working with the Fellow. On-island/coastal interviews are required. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.
Learn more about being an Island Fellow here:
Be A Fellow
- Recent completion of a baccalaureate or graduate degree (within five years)
- Demonstrated interest and experience in a field such as community service, community planning, natural-resource planning, GIS mapping, educational outreach, etc.
- A strong service ethic
- A strong desire to live and work within a small, remote community
- Strong self-motivation and the ability to work with minimal supervision
Island Fellow Benefits
Each Fellow receives a stipend of $18,000, plus rent and utilities, health insurance, paid vacation days and other benefits. The Institute also provides reimbursement for approved work-related expenses, access to a professional development fund, and offers to offset part of the cost of a new laptop for first year Fellows.
In addition to the application form, which will be accessible via a link on this page during the open application period, the following are required:
- An unofficial copy of your transcripts of complete undergraduate and graduate records
- One letter of recommendation
- A concise personal statement
- A resume
See the following FAQs for answers to some commonly asked questions, or contact us at (207) 594-9209 for additional assistance.
Host a Fellow
The Island Institute Fellows Program’s goals are to provide support for Maine’s island and coastal communities by:
- Building capacity by meeting community-stated needs through project-based work
- Increasing capacity for the local management of historical, cultural, natural, economic and informational resources
- Assisting local research, planning, education and technology projects
- Offering enriching professional-development opportunities for Island Fellows
Dan DeBord — Monhegan Fellow — Dan is working with the Monhegan community to bring high-speed broadband access to the island. He is also working with the assessors to set up municipal systems. Originally from Virginia, he has spent summers on Frenchboro, ME. Dan graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in economics and history and a minor in religious studies.
Diana Furukawa — Millinocket Fellow — Diana is working with the Millinocket Memorial Library to develop a community resource and volunteer coordination center for the Katahadin region. Before moving to Maine, she lived in Seattle, Washington. Diana graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in sociology and visual arts.
Maddy Bruno — Islesboro Fellow — Maddy is working with the Islesboro Community Center to support health and wellness programming across the island. She is also increasing the technical capacity of the artist economic support programming run through the community center. Maddy is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in geology.
Maria Keeler — North Haven Fellow — Maria is working with teachers, parents, and students at the North Haven Community School to create dynamic, standards-based, agricultural curriculum. She is also supporting the community through her coordination of summer farmers’ market, her work with recreation committee, and her passion for learning. Maria is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Morris with a degree in biology and psychology.
Molly Siegel — Isle au Haut Fellow — Molly is supporting the Isle au Haut community by adding capacity and technical support for a community telemedicine facility and affordable, sustainable year-round housing. Since September 2016, Molly has worked with the Portland Housing Authority as a community hub coordinator. She has her Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Dartmouth College.
Natalie Hyde-Petersen — Frenchboro Fellow — Natalie is working with the community on the island of Frenchboro to support educational efforts with an after school and summer learning program. She also works with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust to support community programs. Natalie graduated from Gordon College with a degree in linguistics.
Nell Houde — Peaks Island Fellow — Nell is working with the teachers and students of Peaks Island Elementary School to bring the edible schoolyard master plan to life. Nell will also be working with the Peaks Assisted Living organization to support the new non-profit as it develops fundraising, financing, and operations systems. Nell is a graduate of Bates College where she majored in environmental studies and general education with a focus on community education and agriculture.
Stevie Kowalczyk — Swan's Island Fellow — Stevie is working with the Lobster and Marine Museum to help curate its extensive maritime and fishing history collection. She is supporting this work with marketing outreach, education, and volunteer recruitment. Stevie has a Master of Science in cultural heritage management from the University of Minnesota.