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 or accelerated master's program students in their 5th year, in any major, enrolled for at least 6 units of credit at the University of Arizona for Fall 2024, planning on being enrolled in at least 6 credits for Spring 2025, eligible to work in the United States, living in Tucson during the 2024-25 academic year, and passionate about environmental and community resilience. Students with underrepresented identities in environmental fields are encouraged to apply, including students of color, first generation college students, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities.

Earth Grant students commit to participation for the duration of the academic year (both Fall 2024 and Spring 2025), including both working at an internship and consistent participation in weekly cohort meetings/activities.

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 2024-25 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. Two meetings per semester are dedicated to community building activities, and students are encouraged to build supportive relationships with others in the cohort.

Students are paid $19/hr for internship hours worked, and receive two academic credits each semester for their participation in weekly cohort meetings, Fridays 1:00-2:50pm. 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.

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 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 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. 

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 3, 2023, 7pm 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, Jessica Estrada at
  2. Complete and submit the application online [application will go live by mid March]. 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 June 3 - June 17.

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 31 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 28.

March 18, 2024
Student application portal opens

April 23, 2024, 5-5:30pm AZ time
Info webinar for students, no registration required. Link to join:

Friday, May 3, 2024
Student applications due

By May 31, 2024
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

June 3, 2024 - June 17, 2024
Window for student-mentor virtual interviews

By June 28, 2024
Students receive final notification of acceptance to the program and internship placement

Week of Aug 26, 2024
Weekly Earth Grant student cohort meetings begin, Fridays 1:00-2:50pm

Sept 6, 2024 1:00-2:30pm
Orientation meeting with all mentors and students

Sept 9, 2024
Internships begin

May 15, 2025
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.”