The Island Institute’s Island Fellows Program is one of the signature programs of the Island Institute. Since 1999, the Fellows program has placed college and master’s degree graduates in Maine’s coastal and year-round island communities for two-year fellowships. 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 Institute 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
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. 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.
Become an Island Fellow
See below for more information on becoming a fellow, including the qualifications and benefits of fellowship, or check out our informational flyer to learn more: Be a Fellow
Qualifications to apply include:
- An associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree within the last five years
- Demonstrated interest and experience in a relevant field
- The ability to work in the United States
Qualities of a successful Island Fellows include:
- A strong desire to live and work in a small island or coastal community
- Openness to experience new activities and new ways of thinking
- Flexibility and a strong service ethic
- Self-motivation and the ability to work with minimal supervision
- A sense of adventure and purpose, yet able to thrive in the closeness of a rural community
- In-community housing, utilities, and internet provided
- $12.75/hour wage for a 35-hour work week
- Paid vacation, holidays, and time off
- Health insurance
- Laptop purchase program
- Island Institute membership
- Professional development through retreats and workshops and Island Institute events
- Networking with other professionals and organizations
Fellow Applicant Timeline*
- Mid-January: Application available online
- February or March TBD: Zoom information session for prospective applicants.
- March 31: Applications due
- April: Initial interviews
- Late April to May: Finalist interviews, matched with host sites.
- May: New Fellows accept positions
- August 31: Fellowship year begins
*Note: This is our approximate timeline. Exact dates may fluctuate year to year.
Host an Island 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
Host Site Application Timeline
- January/February: Express your interest in hosting a fellow in your community. Reach out to Fellows Team Strategic Lead Kate Tagai for a conversation and to receive the Host Site Application. Email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- March: Host Site Applications due; interview with Island Institute staff.
- Early April: Confirm selected host sites.
- Late April/May: Host sites convene a panel for Fellow Finalist Interviews.
- June/July: Host sites share contact info for prospective landlords with Island Institute staff.
- August: Host site advisor orientation.
- August 31: Fellowship year begins.