The 15 Islanders receiving Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowships this spring include high school and college students, professionals seeking advanced degrees and ecologists working on Vineyard projects.

“We’re about supporting people at the grassroots level and just giving them that quiet support they need,” said Melissa Hackney, executive director of the fellowship program.

“We want to strengthen the individuals as well as the organizations they’re working for,” she added.

Most of this year’s fellowships will fund continuing professional development for teachers, nurses and others who are already working in the Vineyard community, Ms. Hackney said.

“We’re looking for people who are committed to the Island,” she said.

Edgartown School teacher Nedine Cunningham is earning a master’s degree in social work from Syracuse University, with the goal of becoming either a social worker or an adjustment counselor in the Island school system, according to the announcement.

Kylie Devine aims to become a physical therapist. — Courtesy Vision Fellowship

Scott Goldin, associate director at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, will seek a doctorate of education from Boston College, a route to becoming licensed as a school superintendent. This is Mr. Goldin’s second Vision Fellowship, according to the announcement. With his 2018 award, he earned his master’s in education from Lesley University.

Noli Taylor of Island Grown Initiative (IGI) was also awarded a second fellowship. Her first, in 2007, resulted in the successful Island Grown Schools program. Now IGI’s senior director of programs, Ms. Taylor will use her grant for training in nonprofit management.

Sakiko Isomichi is earning a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, with the goal of expanding sustainable and ecological practices in the landscaping industry. Ms. Isomichi also holds a bachelor’s from the Harvard Extension School and a master’s in divinity, focusing on ethnography, waste and ethics, from Harvard Divinity School, according to the announcement.

Kate Hansen, a 2016 graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School with a bachelor’s degree in psychological sciences, is studying for a master’s of science in nursing at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions, on the family nurse practitioner track.

Traci Monteith, currently the school nurse at Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School and a paramedic for the town of Chilmark, is earning a bachelor’s in science in nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Sakiko Isomichi will attend Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. — Courtesy Vision Fellowship

Project-based fellowships were awarded to Maggie Craig, Alley McConnell, Phoebe Walsh and Indaia Whitcombe.

Currently an automotive technician, Ms. Craig will work with Island farms, conservation agencies and waste management companies to study biochar, a type of charcoal, as a soil amendment. Her project is sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Ms. McConnell, who works for the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, will study seagrass restoration projects off-Island with the aim of bringing successful techniques back to the Vineyard. She also will work to become a certified ecological restoration practitioner through the Society of Ecological Restoration, according to the fellowship announcement.

Ms. Walsh, who holds degrees in environmental studies and ocean food systems, will lead the Martha’s Vineyard Seafood Collaborative’s (MVSC) Vision Fellowship project to expand MVSC’s seafood donation program, pilot a community supported fisheries subscription program with flash-frozen catches and promote the use of local seafood in Island kitchens.

Ms. Whitcombe, who earned a master’s degree in documentary storytelling, photography and video from the University of North Carolina School of Journalism, will work with Martha’s Vineyard Museum oral curator and historian Linsey Lee and Circuit Films of West Tisbury to produce a series of four to six short documentary portraits from the museum’s collection of fieldwork and oral history interviews.

Two Islanders who are graduating from the regional high school this year have received two-year fellowships for their higher education.

Kylie Devine, a member of the Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), aspires to become a physical therapist, while Sam Gurney will study wildlife and fisheries science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville this fall.

A second round of two-year fellowships also went out to Lydia Carlos, who is studying biology at Bates College with interests in shellfish and fishery conservation, nitrogen management and water resources; Jenaleigh Griffin, who is earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with the career goal of becoming a nurse; and Molly Menton, a nursing major at the University of South Carolina with the goal of becoming a maternity nurse.

During their first fellowships, both Ms. Griffin and Ms. Menton have interned at Island Health Care, and Ms. Carlos has interned with Martha’s Vineyard Commission water resource planner Sheri Caseau on cyanobacteria testing in Island ponds.

Ideally, Ms. Hackney said, the younger fellows will someday bring back their skills and experience to benefit the Vineyard community.

“We’ve had almost 50 undergrads since the program started [in 2004], and I’d say a fifth of them are back on the Island and... a quarter of them are still in the program,” she said.

“We also have a long view toward undergrads,” Ms. Hackney added. “We understand, you’re a young person, you need go out and get experience, get that world view.”

Nominations for the fellowships are made by Island organizations and high school officials, Ms. Hackney told the Gazette.

About 20 to 40 nominations come in each year, she said, and the Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship generally selects eight to 12 new fellows.

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