Now Accepting Applications for 2020-21 Northern Tier Shelter Fellowship Program!

October 20, 2020


2020-21 University of Wisconsin-Madison Northern Tier Shelter Fellowship Program


The UW Northern Tier fellowship shelter program was created to provide shelter leadership staff with additional training to make a positive life-saving impact in their shelters and communities. This program is modeled after the highly successful Maddie’s UW/UCD Shelter Medicine Veterinary Fellowship which is open only to veterinarians. Up to two staff in leadership roles per shelter will participate.

The fellowships provide unique opportunities for shelters in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to learn via interaction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Shelter Medicine Program team and a variety of animal shelters from the Northern Tier region. In addition, fellows may have opportunities to interact with other academic and clinical programs, including other university shelter medicine programs as well as national animal welfare organizations.

Beginning in December 2020, shelter fellows will spend approximately 1 hour per week over the course of one year focused on advanced shelter training.

Through participation in this program, the fellow(s) will:

  • Become familiar with resources to improve shelter animal health, including detailed knowledge of the resources available through our website,, other organizations with whom we regularly partner (e.g. Maddie’s Fund, HSUS, ASPCA, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians), and the scientific literature.
  • Become familiar with the ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care.
  • Learn many important elements of sheltering, including considerations for housing, population planning, sanitation, physical and behavioral well-being.
  • Interact closely with shelter medicine faculty, residents, and current/former fellows with a goal of developing relationships that promote life-long learning and collaboration between shelter leadership and academics.
  • _ Attend a 3-day, virtual training intensive in December 2020, working closely with other fellows in the program and the UWSMP team. While normally held in person, this year the event will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More details of the event will be discussed during interviews. As much as we love to hold this event in person and are saddened to make this choice, we want to look out for the safety of attendees first and can promise it will still be an engaging experience. Participation in this training is a requirement of the fellowship. _
  • Complete a project focusing on an aspect of interest to the fellow’s shelter with possible creation of materials to share with the field. Fellows may decide to change their project plan after beginning the fellowship.

The fellows will be able to put their new skills to work with their own shelter, directly benefiting shelter animals and communities. Additionally, the shelter medicine program will benefit from the infusion of practical experience brought by the Shelter Fellows. Many fellows will continue on with the program as alumni and mentors while working in or with shelters for years to come, greatly magnifying the impact of this investment in their training.

Cost: Free! Fellows do not pay registration fees or tuition. This opportunity is made possible by a grant. No other direct financial support to fellows is provided.

Selection and review committee: A committee will select candidates and review applications to the program. Shelters will be selected for the fellowship with 1-2 leadership staff per organization participating. Consideration will be given to selecting shelters representing a variety of shelter types and geographical locations within the Northern Tier states.

Fellowship requirements: With the University of Wisconsin-Madison Shelter Medicine Program team, fellows will spend an average of one hour per week working remotely including:

  • Attendance at the virtual Shelter Intensive required.
  • Attend every other week fellowship group phone calls.
  • Complete a project focusing on an aspect of interest to the fellow(s) with relevance to their home base shelter and creation of materials to share with the field. The project will apply methods learned through fellowship.
  • Deliver a virtual presentation or prepare a report describing the chosen shelter project and what was learned through the fellowship, giving examples of positive changes that were made at shelters as a result of the experience. Previous Northern Tier shelter fellows’ projects can be found here.

How to apply:

Applicants must be leadership staff working in shelters in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, or Wisconsin. One application per shelter accepted, with up to 2 staff participating. Shelters will be selected but individuals participating should be listed on the application with one applicant as the primary fellow.

 Application packet must include:

  • A fully completed 2020 fellowship application.
  • A current resume for each staff member participating.
  • A letter of intent, one per shelter (1 page max). Letter of intent describing why you are interested in the fellowship, how you hope it will benefit the animals in your community in the near and/or long-term future, further details on any of the answers above you feel need clarification, and anything else you think we should know as we consider your application.
  • A project proposal, one per shelter (1 page max). A brief description of a project the fellow(s) would like to undertake during the fellowship. The project should focus on an aspect of interest to the fellow(s) with relevance to your home base shelter. Previous examples include the implementation of managed intake or humane housing. You will have the resources of the University of Wisconsin SMP generally available to you and you may decide to change your project plan after beginning fellowship and discussing with mentors. Your project needs largely to be conducted in your regular place of employment (or the shelter you generally work with).
  • A letter of support from shelter management or supervisor (e.g. Shelter Director or Board of Directors if the fellow applicant is Shelter Director).
  • 1 letter of reference for primary fellow applicant (preferred as this enables us to get to know you and your shelter best) or two references with contact information if no letter of reference supplied.

Click here to view and complete the Shelter Fellowship Application. Have all documents ready to upload as the application cannot be saved and submitted until complete.


Questions can be directed to All application materials must be received by 5pm Central Time on November 6, 2020.