U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Directorate Resource Assistant Fellows Program (DFP)

Directorate Resource Assistant Fellows Program (DFP)

The U.S Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is partnering with Hispanic Access Foundation to assist with recruitment and administration of the 2021 Directorate Fellows Program (DFP).

DFP is for students interested in conservation careers. The 11-week internship focuses on projects that support FWS conservation priorities. Internships begin in mid-May or June 2021 and end in August or September 2021. Most projects are a good fit for students with majors in biological sciences and natural resources. There are a limited number of projects that could be a good fit for other degree areas, such as education and outreach, social sciences/humanities, geographic and information sciences, law enforcement/ criminal justice, communications and marketing, and information technology. You are applying to be part of the 2020 cohort of over 75+ fellows. 

Past projects have included work on: species conservation planning, field surveys and monitoring for species, landscape scale conservation partnerships, environmental law and policy, education and outreach, community engagement, digital communications, and many others that support our agency's mission.

Who is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) mission is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Our ~9000 employees work in all 50 states and U.S. territories in partnership with others to achieve this mission.
What is DFP?
DFP is a Direct Hire Authority Program that includes an 11-week Fellowship project for current students at the rising senior undergraduate or graduate school level. Upon successful completion of the Fellowship program, along with degree conferral, participants may be directly appointed without competition to full time, permanent positions.
  • Program established in 2014
  • Over 380 student participants
  • Over 150 Fellows hired permanently with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Why is DFP important to FWS?
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service goal is to promote and maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce that thrives in an environment accessible to all and free of employment discrimination. DFP provides an opportunity for interested students from all diverse backgrounds, including women, minorities, and other underrepresented populations to gain valuable experience leading to a career in conservation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with 3 partner organizations to administer the Directorate Fellows Program for 2021:
Each partner organization is administering a specific number of projects based on geographic location. Applying with multiple partners ensures you will have access to view and apply for all projects of interest to you. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply via multiple partners to view all project opportunities.
There is a 2-step application process:
  1. Apply to qualify for the Program requirements via our application page. At minimum, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA, be a current undergraduate rising senior, senior, or graduate student who will complete your degree requirements after the 11-week fellowship (scheduled to end August or September 22, 2021).
  2. After you've qualified for the Program, when specific project descriptions are posted, you will be notified to log back into your application in December and select the specific projects/locations you are interested in applying to.


DFP Eligibility Requirements

  • Current students: Undergraduate rising senior; enrolled or current graduate students 
    • A recent graduate is ineligible to participate in FWS DFP unless they provide verification that college education will continue after September 2021/completion of the 2021 11-week fellowship
  • Pursuing biological science and/or natural resource management degrees. There are a limited number of projects that could be a good fit for other degree areas, such as education and outreach, social sciences/humanities, geographic and information sciences, law enforcement/ criminal justice, communications and marketing, and information technology.
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be 17 years of age or older
  • Cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or higher
  • Must be available for 11 weeks during summer 2021 (1 week orientation plus 10 week fellowship)
  • Must be able to pass a criminal background check
  • Demonstrated interest, education and/or experience in fish and wildlife conservation


  • $540 weekly stipend based on a 40-hour work week
  • Travel expenses paid - roundtrip travel to and from fellowship site
  • Travel for a 1-week orientation at the FWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV - TBD if virtual
  • Housing provided in select locations
  • Hands-on experience
  • Fellows may be eligible for a permanent position in the FWS after successfully completing their fellowship and degree requirements

How to Apply

Complete an application on our MANO website (http://manoproject.org/internships) for the general DFP program. You’ll be asked to submit a resume and transcript with your application. If you have met the eligibility requirements for the 2020 DFP, HAF will later share additional info via email for you to apply for specific DFP projects throughout the United States. Application questions or issues may be directed to Marlene Manzo at marlene@hispanicaccess.org or Michelle Neuenschwander at michelle@hispanicaccess.org.

Application Deadline: January 15, 2021 at 11:59pm EST for all DFP positions

2 Office of Law Enforcement DFP positions:

  • Application Deadline: February 5, 2021 

Applicants may apply to as many projects as they are qualified for and interested in. Selected applicants work on a specific project, strategically designed to support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's priorities.



MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

E: info@hispanicaccess.org
P: (202) 640-4342