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.

Have a question about becoming an Island Fellow? Check out our Fellowship FAQs, contact Lisa Millette for assistance, or visit @islandinstitutefellows on Instagram.


Become an Island Fellow

See below for more information on becoming a fellow, including the qualifications and benefits of the fellowship, or check out our informational flyer to learn more: Be a Fellow

To learn more about this year’s application process, and to hear from former fellows about their fellowship projects, watch our 2023 recruitment video.

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

Benefits include:

  • In-community housing, utilities, and internet provided
  • $13.80/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


2023 Fellow Applicant Timeline: 

  • February 1: Application available online. Please see below for more information.
  • February 16 (12-1pm EST): Zoom information session for prospective applicants. Please see below for more information.
  • March 7 (7-8pm EST): Zoom information session for prospective applicants. Please see below for more information.
  • March 17: 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

Apply for the Fellowship:

The application window closes March 17, 2023. Only online applications are accepted. In lieu of a cover letter, we are asking applicants to respond to the short answer questions in this application. Please respond to the application questions and provide specific examples.

Apply Here

Information Sessions on Zoom: 

Learn more about the Island Fellow position and the application process during our Zoom information sessions on Thursday, Feb 16 from 12-1pm EST and Tuesday, March 7 from 7-8pm EST. These sessions are open to anyone interested in applying and will provide an overview of the fellowship and application process, plus time to ask questions to staff and current fellows. Please register in advance for one of the events below. All registrants will be emailed a recording of the event. 

February 16 (12-1pm EST) Session: Register Here

March 7 (7-8pm EST) Session: Register Here


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

See our informational flyer to learn more: Host a Fellow

2023 Host Site Application Timeline 

  • January: Express your interest in hosting a fellow in your community. Reach out to Fellows Team Project Lead Lisa Millette for a conversation and to receive the Host Site Application. Email Lisa at
  • January 31: 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.


Current Fellows, 2022-2023

Click here to meet and learn more about our current Island Fellows or follow them on Instagram!