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Empathy Fellowship

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The Empathy Fellowship is designed to create a pipeline into careers in aquariums, zoos and the conservation field for communities of color and other marginalized communities that bear the brunt of environmental harm and historically haven’t reaped the benefits of the solutions proposed. The Empathy Fellowship will offer job experience in the marine conservation field, with a focus on the role that empathy can play in both marine conservation and addressing the disproportional impact of environmental degradation on communities of color and other marginalized communities.

Empathy fellows support the marine education outreach programming the Aquarium provides to our Connections program partners in the role of outreach educators, delivering empathy-based marine conservation programming within historically marginalized communities in the Salish Sea region. They also research, implement and present on individual Empathy Community Action Projects in order to apply all that they’ve learned to a real-world marine-conservation-related issue that impacts themselves and their community.

The one-year Empathy Fellowship will provide a cohort of participants with opportunities to learn about local marine life and conservation efforts, develop personal and professional goals, and become effective educators, facilitators and advocates for marine conservation, empathy and their communities. Fellows will culturally and linguistically reflect the community in which they will be working. Following the fellowship, the Seattle Aquarium will continue to support fellows through networking, job search advice and involvement in fellowship events.

Applications are currently closed.

The next cohort of Empathy Fellows will join the Aquarium in 2025. Please check back for updates.


This is a full-time, one-year position starting in March 2023. The fellowship is a hybrid position with a core weekly schedule of up to 40 hours a week, with flexibility for occasional evening, early-morning or weekend hours in support of community partner events, outreach and field programs.

Fellows are given freedom and flexibility to develop a program that will address marine conservation and empathy for both marine life and humans within their chosen communities. Projects will need to be developed and integrated into current Aquarium programming for ongoing sustainability and capacity needs. Each fellow will be mentored and supported by two Connections program outreach specialists and the Connections program manager as they choose and implement their chosen empathy community action project.

Yes! You will be eligible for paid holidays and vacation/sick time, as well as health care benefits, like all full-time Seattle Aquarium employees.

Yes. This is a hybrid position and fellows will be expected to work in person at the Aquarium one day a week and up to four since on-site/in-person needs can vary based on outreach demands during our busiest seasons. For remote working days, fellows will be provided with a laptop and other resources to allow them to work remotely. Candidates will need to provide their own internet connection that is strong enough to take calls regularly over work channels.

Skills, abilities and other requirements:

  • Interest in marine science conservation.
  • Interest in fostering empathy for people and animals as a conservation tool.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing.
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental justice and desire to serve communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation.
  • Interest in engaging courageous conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion topics such as social, racial and environmental justice.
  • Enthusiasm and skill for developing relationships with people from diverse backgrounds, and building strong ties with the community.
  • Fellows should self-identify from historically marginalized communities in the Salish Sea region.
  • Familiarity with MS Office programs, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams and Outlook.

Education and experience: Minimum education and experience required.*


  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Six months working or volunteering in an organization such as a school, camp, community center, zoo, aquarium, nature center or other organization engaged in education or outreach with historically marginalized communities.
  • Demonstrated interest in the Seattle Aquarium’s mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment” and/or related fields such as marine conservation, environmental education and environmental justice.
  • Washington or other state driver’s license (or eligibility to obtain one upon arrival) and good driving record required.
  • If candidate does not already have first aid and CPR certifications, will be required to obtain within 90 days once hired (Aquarium will provide access to this certification).


  • Strong preference will be given for proficiency in a second language: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Lushootseed, Japanese, Vietnamese, Amharic or Russian preferred.
  • Resident of the Salish Sea region; connected to local communities. 

*In lieu of traditional education and work experience, comparable life experience will be considered.

Yes. Fellows will be required to work on site and expected to live within a commutable distance from the Seattle Aquarium.

Empathy Fellowship alumni


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