Now Accepting Applications for 2022 Northern Tier Shelter Fellowship Program!

November 17, 2021

2022 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 January 2022, shelter fellows will spend approximately 1.5 hours every other week over the course of 10 months 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 January 2022 (likely Jan. 10-12), 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 one or more informal projects 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 zoom calls.
  • Over the course of the fellowship, design and carry out one or more informal projects focusing on an aspect of interest to the fellow(s) with relevance to their shelter- examples include implementing a new program, changing the intake process, or revamping the adoption experience.

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 materials must include:

  • A fully completed online 2022 fellowship application (see the link below this list).
  • A current resume for each staff member participating.
  • A letter of intent, one per shelter (1 page max). Describe why your shelter is interested in the fellowship, how you hope it will benefit animals in your shelter or 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 plan, one per shelter (1 page max). Describe a project your shelter would like to undertake during the Fellowship and what tools (e.g. training, information, community or board support) you think you would need to accomplish the change outlined in your project. You will have the resources of University of Wisconsin SMP generally available to you and you may decide to change your project plan after beginning fellowship and discussing with mentors.
  • A letter of support from shelter management or supervisor (e.g. Shelter Director or Board of Directors if the fellow applicant is Shelter Director). “Support” includes not only supporting your participation but also willingness to consider implementing positive, impactful changes in your organization that may stem from this fellowship.
  • 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 since the application cannot be saved or submitted until complete.

Questions can be directed to All application materials must be received by 5pm Central Time on December 1, 2021.