Earth Grant Program

Earth Grant students at their internships
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Developing the next generation of resilience leaders

The Earth Grant program is a year-long leadership development program for a diverse cohort of select UArizona students passionate about environmental and community resilience. Individually, each student is matched with a mentor working in their field of interest for a 5-20 hr/week paid internship. As a cohort, students engage in weekly activities to gain cross-sector leadership skills within a supportive peer group. 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.

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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 for Fall 2023, planning on being enrolled in at least 6 credits for Spring 2024, eligible to work in the United States, living in Tucson during the 2023-24 academic year, and passionate about environmental and community resilience. 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 academic year (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024), including both working at an internship and consistent participation in weekly cohort meetings/activities.

Note: Participants in the Diana Liverman Scholars program cannot participate in the Earth Grant program in the same year. For students interested in both of these programs, we encourage you to participate in each of these programs in separate years.

Each Earth Grant student is matched with a professional mentor working in the student's realm of realm of professional interest for a 5-20 hr/week academic year paid internship. Through this internship, students take the lead on a specific project as well as provide general support at the internship organization and build relationships with other professionals. Students select up to three internships of interest when applying to the program. Learn more about our 2022-23 internships.

Additionally, Earth Grant students meet weekly as a group for facilitated activities, guest presentations, and discussions related to leadership, communication, problem solving, career planning, social and environmental issues, and diverse representation in environmental fields. One reflection or practice 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.

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.

Students are paid $18/hr for internship hours worked, and receive two academic credits each semester for their participation in weekly cohort meetings, Fridays 1:00-2:40pm. Students may additionally receive internship credit through their home department for their Earth Grant internship. Talk with your academic advisor for information and requirements to receive internship credit, as requirements differ by department.

Weekly cohort activities are in person on the University campus. Internship activities may be virtual, in person, or a mix of both, dependent on the specific internship position. 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.

Earth Grant internships are real jobs. You are contributing to projects with real-world impact, working alongside other professionals, reporting hourly time and paid an hourly wage. Although Earth Grant students may work a second job while participating in the program, applicants are encouraged to seriously consider their course load and work-life balance when considering this program.

Please note that an undergraduate student may work no more than 25 hours per week, per UA policy. International undergraduate students may work no more than 20 hours per week. For example, if a student already has a 10hr/week job on campus, they could be employed up to 15hrs/week maximum in an Earth Grant internship.

Applications are due Friday, May 12, 2023, 5pm AZ time. Here's the application process:

  1. Review all program information and internship descriptions. Please direct any questions about eligibility or program details to Program Coordinator, Leona Davis at
  2. Complete and submit the application online [application will go live by early April]. As part of the application, you will be asked to indicate your top three internship choices if selected for the program.
  3. If your application is selected for consideration, you will be invited to schedule a 30 minute zoom interview with one or more potential mentors, during the weeks of May 29 - June 16.

Round One- An internal review committee will review all student applications for the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrates knowledge and interest in issues related to environmental and community resilience.
  2. Describes skills and/or knowledge gained from previous work/volunteer/school experiences that would contribute to success at an Earth Grant internship.
  3. Based on described previous experiences and personal identities, would bring a unique perspective to the student cohort and to environmental resilience work.

Round Two- All student applicants will be notified via email by May 26 regarding status of application. Students moving on to Round Two will receive additional communication via email from the mentors at their top internship placements (identified in the application) to schedule a brief, informal zoom interview. Applicants will be notified via email regarding their final acceptance to the program and internship placement by June 19.

April 1, 2023
Student application portal opens

Mid-April TBD
Student info and application webinar

Friday, May 12
Student applications due

By May 26
Students will be notified whether their application has been accepted for consideration. If so, the student may be invited to schedule an interview with one or more potential internship mentors

May 29 - June 16
Window for student-mentor virtual interviews

June 19
Students receive final notification of acceptance to the program and internship placement

Week of Aug 21
Weekly Earth Grant student cohort meetings begin, Fridays 1:00-2:40pm

Sept 1
Orientation meeting with all mentors and students, date and time TBD

Sept 5, 2023
Internships begin

May 9, 2024
Internships end

Inspired by the models of the NASA Space Grant and NOAA Sea Grant programs, Arizona Institute for Resilience (AIR) at the University of Arizona launched the Earth Grant program in 2021 to support emerging environmental and community resilience 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.


Donations directly support paid internships for underrepresented students. Make sure to designate your gift to “Earth Grant.”