Are you an undergraduate at the University of Florida looking to connect your work to the betterment of the planet?
When it comes to helping care for our planet, it’s all hands on deck. Leaders from all disciplines are needed to tackle the immense challenge of protecting the Earth for current and future generations.
Our pilot program, the TESI Environmental Leaders Fellowship, aims to bring together students from diverse majors and backgrounds and provide them with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and network to advocate for the planet as they take on leadership roles in their respective careers. In particular, we especially encourage students from backgrounds and identities that are underrepresented in environmental fields to take part in this unique leadership program.
This Fellowship is an excellent opportunity for UF undergraduates from a variety of majors to gain experience in environmental research, education & outreach, and civic engagement. A cohort of 10 Fellows will attend seminars featuring environmental experts, receive mentoring from professionals in environmental fields, network with peers, and take part in a fellow-designed, multi-day field experience focused on environmental challenges across Florida. This pilot program, funded by a faculty grant from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation, will allow students to play a key role in their own learning by contributing to the planning and implementation of the program components (see below).
All program activities will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. Accordingly, components may shift between virtual and in-person as needed. Following UF guidance, masking and vaccination of all participants are strongly encouraged. Those in-person activities that can be safely held will take place in and around Gainesville, Fla.
Benefits of the Program
Selected Fellows will leave the program with the following:
- Stipend of $2,500 ($1,250 awarded in Fall 2021; $1,250 awarded in Spring 2022)
- Spring Break field experience (March 2022)
- Enhanced understanding of environmental issues
- A broad skill set in different approaches to tackling environmental issues
- Professional and leadership skills focused on research, education and civic engagement. Fellowship experiences will culminate in a final project produced in tandem with a community organization that focuses on a salient environmental issue.
- A network of colleagues they can connect to as they emerge as leaders in their respective fields
- Seminars: These discussions will feature environmental professionals from a variety of fields.
- Mentoring: Fellows will be paired with a mentor who will work with students to learn more about career pathways, environmental stewardship goals, and ideas for a final project.
- Spring break field experience: Fellows will gain hands-on research experience and have opportunities to engage and connect with professionals, researchers, and other stakeholders tackling environmental issues from various perspectives.
- Final project with community partners: Fellows will form pairs or small groups to take part in a project that contributes to environmental education, research, stewardship, or civic engagement in the community. Fellows will work alongside a community organization to plan and implement the project.
The TESI Environmental Leaders Fellowship kicks off in October 2021 and concludes in April 2022. Fellows are required to participate in all program activities which include:
- Attending TESI Environmental Leaders Fellowship orientation (October 2021)
- Attending regularly scheduled meetings with mentors, group meetings and seminars (~3-4 meetings/month)
- Completing journal entries throughout the Fellowship
- Participating in Spring Break field experience (Week of March 6 – 12, 2022)
- Completing a final group project with a community organization and present it at a final project showcase
September 22, 2021: Application deadline
October 2021: Fellowship orientation
October 2021-February 2022: Seminars featuring discussions with professionals from a variety of environmental fields.
October 2021-April 2022: Once or twice-monthly meetings with a program mentor as well as a once-monthly group meeting with the other fellows and facilitators. During this time, Fellows will also be meeting with community partners to plan and implement their final project.
March 2022: Field experience. Locations TBD.
April 2022: Final project showcase
Sophomore or higher University of Florida undergraduate students from any major (science, pre-law, communications, political science, etc.) with an interest in learning about environmental topics and/or connecting their future work to the environment are invited to apply. Students from historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.
Individuals from many groups and identities are underrepresented in environmental fields; these groups and identities include dimensions of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and status as a first-generation student.
Selected Fellows must be in good academic standing in accordance with the University’s policies and must be enrolled a minimum of 12 credit hours as a degree-seeking undergraduate student throughout the Fellowship period. Fellows must also comply with all University regulations, rules, and codes of conduct governing students on campus.
Apply by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 to be considered.
Please apply online by visiting the following link: https://bit.ly/TESIEnviroLeaders
*If you would like to first preview all questions, visit the following link to view a PDF version of the application: PDF Application
Assistant Professor, UF School of Natural Resources and Environment
Communications Manager, UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute
Assistant Curator of Museum Education, Florida Museum of Natural History & UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute
Assistant Curator, Florida Museum of Natural History
Ph.D Candidate, University of Florida
Program Coordinator and Educator, UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute
Assistant Scientist, UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute