RCC Fellowship Information 2023-2024
2024-2025 RCC Fellowship applications will open in Spring, 2024
Thank you for your interest in the Rachel Carson Council Fellowship program. The Rachel Carson Council is a national environmental advocacy organization founded in 1965 to carry on the work and legacy of Rachel Carson. We promote Carson’s ecological ethic that combines scientific concern for the environment and human health with a sense of wonder and reverence for all forms of life in order to build a more sustainable, just, and peaceful future.
The Rachel Carson Council (RCC) educates, organizes, and advocates at the national, state, and grassroots level for climate and environmental justice, renewable energy, forest and ocean protection, for the advancement of civil and human rights, and American democracy.
About the RCC Fellowship Program
The RCC Fellowship Program is designed to identify outstanding students with a passion for environmental education, organizing, and advocacy and provide them with financial support to carry out valuable projects and campaigns on behalf of the RCC. To apply to the program, students propose their own projects that are focused on sustainability and environmental justice to be carried out on their campuses and in their communities. Individuals considering applying to the program may consider a wide variety of potential projects. Former fellows have run projects ranging from divestment campaigns to podcasts on environmental justice issues and campaigns for renewable energy infrastructure on their campuses.
Special consideration will be given to fellows applying in areas where the Rachel Carson Council has ongoing campaigns or work. These include, but are not limited to: divestment, renewable energy, particularly solar energy, and environmental justice. More information about RCC’s work can be found on our website.
RCC Fellows become nationally recognized environmental youth leaders. If accepted into the program, Fellows will become active members of the RCC national campus program with thousands of active faculty, students, staff and administrators at 64 campuses. They will also benefit from the mentorship of longtime national climate and environmental advocate, expert, and author Dr. Robert K. Musil, and RCC senior staff.
RCC Fellows selected for the 2023-2024 cohort will also benefit from attending the RCC American Environmental Leadership Institute for 5 days from July 23-27, 2023. The AELI will be held at the Rockwood Manor Retreat Center adjacent to the C&O Canal National Park just outside Washington, DC, one of Rachel Carson’s favorite haunts for bird watching and enjoying nature.
Faculty for the AELI include Dr. Musil, RCC staff, and selected members of the RCC National Advisory Council, noted writers, environmental educators, organizers, and NGO leaders. You can see the RCC National Advisory Council here: RCC National Advisory Council.
How it works
Upon successfully developing a project proposal and being accepted into the Fellowship cohort, fellows will be invited to the 2023 summer RCC American Environmental Leadership Institute, taking place from July 23-27, 2023. There, Fellows will develop project plans for the upcoming year, participate in trainings to hone their leadership, writing, advocacy and organizing skills, meet their cohort, while also networking and learning from national environmental leaders on the RCC National Advisory Council.
Following completion of the fellows training, RCC Fellows will report to their campuses and begin their work for academic year 2023 – 2024. Over the course of the year, RCC Fellows will have monthly mentoring calls with RCC staff and periodic calls with other members of the fellowship cohort to strategize and enhance their projects.
During the year, Fellows will have the opportunity to publish writings about their work for the RCC to be shared on our website and distributed through our networks. Each Fellow will be responsible for at least three writings per semester. Fellows’ writing will support and document their projects, but may also include issues relevant to their work or the work of RCC. A critical component of the fellowship program, fellows will be able to hone their writing skills for a professional advocacy setting over the course of the year and receive mentorship on their work, as consistent with the rest of the program.
RCC Fellows will also develop critical contacts and experience, and upon completion of their term, join the RCC alumni network as they look forward to careers as engaged environmental leaders.
Fellows should expect to dedicate roughly 10-15 hours per week to their project or campaign over the course of their fellowship.
All RCC Fellows receive a $2,000 stipend distributed throughout the academic year.
About the Application
In three pages or less, describe to us your project or campaign. This is basically a project proposal. In your proposal, be sure to highlight how your project is related to environmental justice, sustainability, or the climate crisis. Further, be sure to explain what drew you to this issue, why it is unique to your campus or community, and a basic outline of how you hope to achieve your goals. In addition to learning about your issue and your plan, we are interested in your background in environmental work, how the fellowship program will benefit you, why you feel deeply about your issue, and how it connects to the goals of the Rachel Carson Council.
In addition to the project proposal, students will also submit a resume, a letter of reference from a professor or faculty member from their campus, and a writing sample of no more than three pages.
Starting a divestment campaign on your campus? Resisting pipelines in your community? Developing an organic garden in your neighborhood? Reporting on a story of environmental injustice in your region? RCC wants to work with you!
Your proposal will be strengthened by reviewing the RCC website and especially the work and writing of previous RCC Fellows. Your project will grow out of the unique circumstances of your own college or university but is likely to use techniques and tactics like those used elsewhere. We value creative approaches to environmental and justice issues but also hope your project may stimulate similar ones and be replicable at other colleges even if tailored to meet their own unique circumstances. Projects can and have involved organizing campaigns on divestment and reinvestment, lobbying on coastal and ocean protection; the arts and communications such as a series of podcasts on factory farms, curriculum development, community engagement, climate, and environmental organizing, and network building with Black, and LGBT+ communities; and campus sustainability construction and education for solar installations, campus and community organic gardens, food pantries, and food insecurity.
Need some inspiration? Read about our current fellows here.
For this application you will need:
- A resume
- A letter of reference from a professor
- A written proposal detailing the issue you care about, the project you are proposing to address it, and how it relates to the broad efforts of the RCC and the environmental movement. No longer than three pages, please.
- A writing sample from your previous academic or extracurricular work.
Successful RCC Fellowship applicants will demonstrate:
- Passion for environmental education, organizing or advocacy and that they have identified an issue they wish to work on.
- Strong academic performance with an emphasis on the environment in various disciplines or majors.
- Outstanding writing and research.
- Participation and leadership in campus environmental or related justice activities
- Initiative and the capacity to perform creative problem solving and deal with uncertainty.
- Appreciation for the mission, goals, and issues of the Rachel Carson Council and Rachel Carson’s legacy.
Benefits Fellows will receive:
- A $2,000 stipend over the fellowship term
- National recognition as an RCC Fellow
- Experience in professional writing and opportunities to publish
- Training and mentorship from environmental professionals on the RCC staff
- Professional experience organizing and working for a national environmental non-profit
- Training in advocacy, organizing, and writing as well as mentorship under RCC staff
- Participation in the RCC American Environmental Leadership Institute
- Access to the RCC National Advisory Council and RCC Alumni Network
Contact Mackenzie Kirschbaum
Associate Director, Civic and Campus Engagement