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Meridian Institute Ruckelshaus Fellowship Posted Dec 14, 2019
Meridian Institute , Washington, DC (Also available in Dillon, CO)
2020 Position Announcement

The Meridian Institute Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for early-career professionals to contribute to Meridian’s mission to help people collaborate to solve complex problems, make informed decisions, and implement solutions that improve lives, the environment, and the economy. Fellows are engaged in varied and highly complex issues, learn about multi-party collaborative problem solving from experienced facilitators, and work directly with leaders from diverse sectors and interest groups. The Fellowship is a two-year, full-time position in Meridian’s Dillon, CO or Washington, DC offices. Fellows who are selected will begin work in June 2020.

About Meridian Institute

Meridian Institute is a mission-driven, non-profit organization that has helped our clients and partners develop and implement solutions to complicated, often controversial problems—big and small, global and local—for over two decades.

We do this with an innovative approach that brings together three elements: our deep understanding of the issues at hand, as well as the people, politics, and power dynamics that surround them; our dedicated, expert team; and our ability to foster constructive discussions, manage decisions, and support actions that shape the world for the better. We work not only to shape meaningful consensus and action in the near term, but also to build our partners’ capacity for cooperation that often continues for years, even decades.

We focus on five key services: collaboration, implementation, strategy, research, and philanthropic support. We bring our skills to bear on a diverse range of issues, including environment & natural resources, climate change, agriculture & food systems, forests, health, oceans & coasts, resilience, science & technology, and water. Across issues, boundaries, and systems, our work is a catalyst for powerful impact.

Effective collaborative decision-making requires inclusion of different perspectives and involves bringing together participants with diverse backgrounds. As an organization, we seek staff that reflects and values that same diversity and has experience working in multicultural settings. 

For more information about Meridian and specific projects, please visit

About the Position

Meridian Fellows typically work on several project teams focused on various topics over the course of their time at Meridian. Projects range from one-month efforts focused on facilitating a single meeting to multi-year projects where Meridian oversees the development, design, and implementation of an ongoing collaborative initiative. Fellows provide research, writing, and other types of support for projects including:

Actively engaging as members of dynamic teams focused on designing and facilitating collaborative processes;

Taking detailed notes for internal and external teleconferences and meetings, documenting the range of perspectives, capturing key points and next steps, and drafting meeting summaries.

Tracking news and public policy developments, and researching a variety of topics relevant to our work;

Interviewing or otherwise engaging participants in Meridian processes, including leaders of the private, non-profit, and government sectors;

Designing, conducting and analyzing qualitative desk research and surveys to draft reports and inform strategy and collaborative process design;

Assisting in the preparation of meeting materials and agendas, summaries, press releases, and other communications;

Planning, attending (sometimes providing logistical support), and documenting domestic and/or international meetings;

Managing data and maintaining spreadsheets, including grant tracking spreadsheets and contact databases;

Providing some types of administrative support for Meridian projects, including but not limited to maintaining and creating websites and list serves and drafting emails; and

Supporting meetings in a variety of ways by assisting with room setup and clean up, greeting guests, catering setup and clean up, making coffee, and washing dishes as needed.

Eligibility Requirements

Due to the nature and intent of the fellowship program, we do not accept applicants with degrees beyond a bachelor’s, nor do we accept those who are currently pursuing graduate studies. Additional eligibility criteria include: 

Full professional proficiency or higher in English

Legally able to work in the United States without visa support/sponsorship

Have completed a bachelor’s degree, or expect to complete a bachelor’s degree by May of 2020

Characteristics of Meridian Fellows 


Strong written and oral communication skills, including experience researching, synthesizing, and communicating complex information across an array of audiences.

Strong attention to detail, copy-editing, and note-taking skills.

Ability to handle multiple tasks at once, manage time effectively, and receive and balance direction from multiple Project Directors.

Passion for the issues and work that Meridian is involved in, ability and willingness to learn, and ability to work independently and be self-motivated.

Experience and enthusiasm for effectively working as part of a team. Ability to work with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Proficiency with Microsoft O365 (Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, OneNote, PowerPoint) and other commonly used computer programs and technology, such as social media, as well as the ability to learn and deploy new technology tools.


Interest or experience in collaborative decision-making, facilitation, or mediation.

Experience with note-taking, drafting meeting summaries, conducting interviews and surveys, researching and assembling background materials, and providing meeting and logistical support.

Basic understanding of the institutional and political context in which public policies are deliberated.

Substantive experience in Meridian topic areas.

Online marketing skills including experience with social media, managing website content, and facility with platforms such as Twitter, SharePoint, and MailChimp.

Skills in graphic design for multiple platforms (web design, infographic creation, etc.), including the ability to create and develop visual responses to communication problems using knowledge of aesthetics and composition to construct meaningful images.

Advanced technology competencies (e.g. qualitative research methods such as survey development and coding, template development, and database management). 

Experience in multicultural and/or international settings.

Structure of the Fellowship

The Fellowship will begin June 2020 and is a two-year position, contingent upon performance and needs of the organization. Meridian hires Fellows for the position of Project Assistant in either our Washington, D.C. or Dillon, CO offices. In this role, they support projects on a variety of substantive topic areas. Past Fellows have been involved in work with global and domestic agriculture and food security, climate change, water management, and community and global resilience, among other topics. 

The Meridian Fellowship offers opportunities for personal and professional development. By working in an active, exciting, and dynamic professional environment, Meridian Fellows can expect to: 

Develop the ability to think critically about complex issues and analyze participant interests and process dynamics. 

Help identify and learn to respond appropriately to concerns and problems that can arise in complex and challenging collaborative processes. 

Actively manage numerous tasks toward the completion of a project. 

Improve writing, research, and communication skills.

Work under the guidance of experienced facilitators and mediators.

Meridian Fellows gain these skills through a combination of the projects they support and targeted professional development activities. Fellows may work on a variety of different projects or support one or two larger projects throughout their fellowship. The fellowship also includes formal growth opportunities such as annual Fellowship retreats, informal mentoring from peers and supervisors, networking opportunities, alumni network, and organizational resources to help Fellows refine their career goals. Periodic reviews of the Fellow’s performance and professional goals will help ensure they are getting opportunities to grow. Fellows are encouraged to explore a variety of post-Fellowship career choices, including graduate school and employment with other organizations.

Compensation and Benefits

First year Fellows are offered a salary of $40,000 per year in a non-exempt position ($19.23 per hour). Meridian offers an excellent benefits package including: health, dental and vision insurance; employer contributions to a 401(k) plan; and vacation, sick, and holidays (alternative holidays available upon request and approval). In addition, Fellows are provided with a stipend of up to $500 to support relocation expenses and are issued laptops and mobile phones in conjunction with employment. Washington, DC based Fellows are provided reimbursement of costs incurred by using public transit to commute to work.

How to Apply

Completed applications are due by 10 pm EST on Sunday, January 12, 2020. 

Apply using the Meridian Institute applicant portal. For the best experience, we recommend opening the applicant portal in either Chrome (version 30+), Safari (7+), Firefox (27+) or Microsoft Edge. 

After registering your account and logging into the applicant portal, you will be directed to provide additional information related to your application and upload the following materials:

Cover Letter – 1 page
Drawing from your personal, professional, and academic experiences, please explain how you hope to contribute to Meridian as a Fellow and what you hope to gain from this opportunity. 

Essay – 1 page 
Meridian works on a variety of social and environmental policy issues including agriculture & food systems, climate change, environment & natural resources, forests, health, oceans & coasts, resilience, science & technology, and water. Briefly describe a critical public policy issue facing society today and suggest how a collaborative process could be effective in helping address that issue. If applicable, include details about which parties should be engaged and what challenges might be faced in trying to bring them together. 

Resume – 1 page 
Detail relevant education, training, experiences, and accomplishments.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the application process can be found here. Please direct any additional questions about the Fellowship to Jennifer Brassanini (

Equal Opportunity Employment

Meridian recognizes that our work is made stronger and more impactful by the contributions of diverse groups from around the world. At Meridian, we welcome people from all backgrounds and do not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, national origin, creed, class, ancestry, or other grounds.

Meridian Institute is a participating employer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security program, E-Verify.

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