The Earth Grant program is a year-long leadership development program for a diverse cohort of select UArizona students passionate about community resilience and the environment. Individually, each student is matched with a mentor working in their field of interest for a 5-20 hr/week paid internship project. As a cohort, students engage in weekly activities to gain cross-sector leadership skills and regularly reflect on their experiences. By the end of the program year, Earth Grant students have contributed to real-world outcomes for people and the planet, gained career-ready leadership and professional skills, and formed lasting relationships within a growing peer-mentor network.

Interested in joining the Earth Grant cohort for 2021?

The Earth Grant program is accepting applications for both students and mentors!

Student Application Mentor Application

Inspired by the models of the NASA Space Grant and NOAA Sea Grant programs, Arizona Institutes for Resilience (AIR) at the University of Arizona launched the Earth Grant program in 2021 to support emerging environmental leaders across sectors – in the streets, in research labs, in non-profit organizations, and in government.

At University of Arizona, we know our diversity is our strength. As both a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and home to fourteen Student Resource Centers that provide culturally relevant student engagement and support programs, we create intentional spaces where Wildcats with underrepresented identities in environmental professions can grow, learn, and thrive. Additionally, this program leverages AIR’s existing network of multidisciplinary faculty, community stakeholders, private industry, and nonprofit agencies, to provide a diversity of professional environmental spaces and strategies where Earth Grant students can get involved.

Follow the Earth Grant program on Instagram @uazearthgrant!


FAQs for Students

Eligible Earth Grant recipients are undergraduate students in any major enrolled for at least 6 units of credit at the University of Arizona, eligible to work in the United States, living in Tucson during the 2021-22 academic year, and passionate about making an impact in advancing community resilience and protecting the environment. Students with underrepresented identities in environmental fields are encouraged to apply, including students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and students living with disabilities.

Earth Grant students commit to participation for the duration of the 2021-22 academic year through a 5-20 hrs/week paid internship and enrollment in a one-credit course for both semesters.

Each Earth Grant student is matched with an on- or off-campus mentor who is engaged in environmental work related to their interest or field of study, for a 10-20 hr/week academic year paid internship. Through this internship, students apply their knowledge to tackle a problem or project identified by the mentor, as well as provide general support as part of a team at the internship organization.

Additionally, as part of an Earth Grant cohort, students meet weekly as a group (Wednesdays, 4:00-5:15pm) for facilitated activities, guest presentations, and discussions related to leadership, communication, environmental issues, and diverse representation in environmental fields. One out-of-class assignment will be given each week, related to group activities. In this participatory space, students co-design the cohort curriculum and identify specific topics and activities for deeper exploration within the group for the Spring semester. 

Generally, awarded students are matched with a mentor/internship placement by the UArizona Earth Grant Steering Committee. However, if a student has an existing environmentally-focused internship or has identified a specific mentor for the internship, the student may make that request on the application. Please note that identifying a mentor does not guarantee placement with that mentor, nor give an advantage in the application process.

If you propose to work with a specific mentor, that mentor must also submit an Earth Grant mentor application form by the deadline.

Students are paid $20/hr for 10-20 hrs/week of internship work, and receive one academic credit each semester for their participation and co-leadership in weekly cohort meetings. Number of internship hours per week are jointly decided upon by the student and mentor. Additionally, the student may decide with their mentor and Earth Grant staff whether or not to work over academic holidays, such as winter break. Students may additionally receive internship credit through their home department for their Earth Grant internship. Talk with your academic advisor for information about registering for internship credits.

Students gain real world professional experience related to their specific environmental interests, the ability to make real impact related to the Earth and society, comprehensive leadership training, and lasting relationships with other environmentally-focused students in a highly supportive environment. Additionally, students join a lasting network of other current and emerging environmental leaders, who stay connected after the program year through annual events, social media and the Earth Grant e-newsletter.

Weekly cohort activities will be in person on the University campus. Current CDC and University guidelines for COVID-19 safety will be followed. Internship activities may be virtual, in person, or a mix of both, dependent on the specific position. Students may select their internship location preferences in the application. In all cases, mentors and mentor organizations commit to following CDC and University COVID-19 safety guidance, as well as clearly communicating any additional organization-specific guidelines.

Applications are due Monday, August 2, 5pm AZ time. Students have two application options:

Option 1: Complete and submit the application online.

Option 2: Complete this application as a 30 minute interview with the program coordinator via Zoom. Schedule your interview by booking on this student interview scheduling tool.

Interested students are encouraged to view the application before applying, and contact the Program Coordinator with any questions, at LeonaFDavis@arizona.edu

Monday, Aug 2, 2021
Student applications due

Week of Aug 9
Student may be contacted to schedule an additional interview with one or more potential mentors

by Tuesday, Aug 17
Students notified of review committee decision and internship placement offer

Thursday, Aug 19
Deadline for students to accept offer and enroll in program

Wednesday, Aug 25
Earth Grant student cohort meetings begin (continues weekly)

Wednesday, Sept 1
Orientation meeting with all mentors and students, 4:00-5:30pm, ENR2 room N595

Week of Sept 6
Internships begin

Dec 9, 2021 – Jan 11, 2022
Winter break (optional for students to work)

Mar 5 – 13
Spring Break (optional for students to work)

May 4
Program term ends

FAQs for Mentors

Eligible Earth Grant mentors are either

  1. Non-UArizona-affiliated persons in the Tucson area engaged with projects or organizations actively working on environment/resilience issues,
  2. UArizona faculty or staff actively working on projects related to environment/resilience issues.

Mentors are able to provide 10-20 hrs/wk of meaningful work appropriate for an undergrad student, which must include a specific project identified by the mentor. Additional internship hours may include other general tasks that support the overall mission of the organization, involvement in team meetings, or other planning and administrative work. Mentors may support up to two students.

Providing 10-20 hrs/week of meaningful, environment-related work and regular contact with the student(s). In addition, mentors commit to attending a 1.5-hour orientation meeting in September and a 1.5-hour celebration lunch in April, as well as brief program evaluation surveys at the start and end of the program.

Through the Earth Grant program, mentors work with a pre-screened, highly supported and engaged undergrad student to support their project or organization. Program staff support students through weekly meetings throughout the program year and connecting them with other resources.

The Earth Grant program compensates students at $20/hr, so that they are able to meet their living expenses without additional part-time work. As donations allow for greater student participation, mentor organizations are encouraged to make a donation to the Earth Grant program if resources allow. On average, the program spends about $12,000 annually per Earth Grant student.

Mentors gain a relationship with an emerging resilience leader, staff support for their project or organization, and the ability to screen a potential future permanent employee. In addition, mentors join a local network of other current and emerging environmental leaders, who stay connected after the program year through annual events, social media, and the Earth Grant e-newsletter.

Internship activities may be virtual, in person, or a mix of both, dependent on the specific position and as described by the mentor in the application. In all cases, mentors and mentor organizations commit to following CDC and University COVID-19 safety guidance, as well as clearly communicating any additional organization-specific safety guidelines. Student preferences regarding virtual/in person work will be considered in appropriately matching students to internship positions.

Applications are due Monday, Aug 2, at 5pm AZ time. Mentors have two application options.

Option 1: Complete and submit the application online.

Option 2: Contact the Program Coordinator at leonafdavis@arizona.edu to schedule an application interview via zoom or phone.

Interested mentors are encouraged to view the application and contact the Program Coordinator with any questions.

Monday, Aug 2, 2021
Mentor applications due

Monday, Aug 9
Mentors notified of potential student interns and given the opportunity to schedule an interview

Friday, Aug 13
Deadline for mentors to accept student interns

Wednesday, Sept 1
Orientation meeting with all mentors and students, 4:00-5:30pm, ENR2 room N595

Week of Sept 6
Internships begin

Dec 9, 2021 – Jan 11, 2022
Winter break (optional for students to work)

Mar 5 – 13
Spring Break (optional for students to work)

Wednesday, May 4
Program term ends