Sustainability Fellowships

Sustainability Fellowships
Sustainability students working in the field with a professor


Hands-on experience & professional development


A growing network of sustainability leaders


Building resilience throughout New England

What are Sustainability Fellowships?

Sustainability Fellowships pair exceptional undergraduate and graduate students from UNH and universities across the country with municipal, educational, corporate, and non-profit partners in New England to work on transformative sustainability initiatives. Each summer, Fellows undertake challenging sustainability projects that are designed to create an immediate impact, offer an extraordinary learning experience, and foster meaningful collaboration.  While working on-site with their mentors at partner organizations, Fellows are supported by their Fellowship peers as well as an active network of partners, alumni, and the UNH team, as they emerge as the next generation of sustainability leaders.  Learn about the details of the program below.

Meet SOME OF OUR Fellows


Ariella Sela

The program far exceeded my expectations—there was such thought and care put into each Fellowship and the personal touch points throughout the summer. It is clear that this experience is really about grooming the next generation of sustainability professionals. Loved, loved, loved my experience this summer. Eternally grateful!

Ariella Sela, 2020 Sustainability Fellow - Root Capital

For more information contact OUR program staff

Important Dates

November 6, 2020
Request for Proposals from Partner Organizations Available

December 4, 2020 
Proposals from Partner Organizations DUE

January 11, 2021 
Fellowships Announced & Applications OPEN for Students

January 20, 2021
Webinar for Student Applicants

February 8, 2021
Student Applications DUE

March 2021
Student Interviews

April 2021
Fellows Announced

June 1 - August 20, 2021
Fellowship Term

June 1 - 3, 2021

July 15, 2021
Midterm Fellow Presentations

August 12, 2021
Final Fellow Presentations

  • students on a facility tour


    Thank you for orchestrating the fellowship process - recruiting excellent candidates and streamlining the hiring and project development process.  BED was confident that we’d land with an exceptional young and emerging professional, and that the effort on our part would be well worth the time...  It is encouraging to know that Annika –  and her fellowship peers – are now all the more prepared to grow into leadership and professional roles that will better address the challenges ahead and contribute to the wider social good.  

    – Jennifer Green, Sustainability Officer, City of Burlington

Interested in becoming a Fellow? Learn more:

Each Fellowship will focus on one discrete project, created and hosted by one of our partner organizations, and developed in collaboration with our staffProjects are designed to offer Fellows autonomy with mentorship, to lead to tangible results, and to create opportunity for collaboration. The portfolio of Fellowships will cover a broad range of sustainability topics such as renewable energy, carbon emissions, climate resilience, social justice, food systems, and responsible investing. Projects may involve various types of work, from community engagement to data analysis, from science to policy, and from research to implementation. Host organizations, located throughout New England, include companies, non-profits, government agencies, and academic institutions.

Check out some of our past and present host organizations

The Sustainability Fellowship program includes two cohorts – students in each will have parallel experiences as part of the same program, with expectations appropriate to their level of education. Eligibility requirements:

Undergraduate UNH Cohort:

  • Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors enrolled in any UNH program
  • Some knowledge or experience related to project topic
  • Eager to explore careers in sustainability and participate in impactful work

Graduate NATIONAL Cohort:

  • Individuals who will have completed an undergraduate degree from ANY college or universityincluding UNH, prior to the start of the Fellowship, especially recent graduates and graduate students
  • Significant knowledge or experience related to project topic
  • Eager to apply specialized skills to advance the field in a particular area and to accomplish tangible outcomes for host organization

Each Fellowship will include specific requirements in terms of academic background, skills, and experience.  Refer to position descriptions, once available, for details. 

SEE Examples of past Fellowship opportunities

PLEASE NOTE: Detailed descriptions of the Summer 2021 Fellowships will be available in January 2021.   

Fellowships are opportunities for highly skilled and motivated students to contribute to impactful projects, resulting in:

  • New skills and knowledge
  • Access to extensive professional networks
  • Outstanding portfolio and resume material
  • Competitive compensation
  • Potential for academic credit (through student’s home institution)
  • Potential for integration of Fellowship project into thesis/dissertation work
  • Fulfillment associated with “owning” a project, accomplishing meaningful work, and connecting with a community of like-minded individuals

Fellows are expected to dedicate most of their time to their assigned projects, and also to participate in a variety of networking activities, professional development opportunities and presentations arranged our staff. Fellow are required to:

  • Attend a mandatory orientation at UNH, June 1-3, prior to the start of the fellowship term. 
  • Work on-site at partner organization located in New England, June 7 - August 20.
  • Commit 400 hours to the Fellowship between June 1 and August 20, which allows for some time off during the Fellowship term.
  • Complete a Fellowship project according to the work plan. 
  • Participate in weekly webinars and group meetings. 
  • Present work at mandatory mid-term and final presentation events on July 15 and August 12, respectively. 
  • Engage in additional professional development and networking activities. 
  • Provide and receive feedback at the end of the Fellowship. 

Fellows are UNH employees and receive an hourly wage, which is taxable, and paid in bi-weekly installments over the course of the Fellowship term. Compensation is scaled according to job expectations and position requirements as follows:

Undergraduate UNH Cohort:  $5,220 ($12.50/hour for 400 hours)

Graduate NATIONAL Cohort:  $6,500 ($16.25/hour for 400 hours)

Fellows are expected to use their stipends to cover their own living expenses (summer housing is not provided). Because of the short-term nature of these positions, Fellows are eligible for limited benefits from UNH. Travel scholarships may be available to individuals traveling from outside of New England to participate in a Fellowship. Travel support is also available during the summer for travel between project sites and Durham for required program events. 

The application process for 2021 Fellowships will open in January 2021. 

Interested students may apply for up to three Fellowship positions, and will be required to submit a resume and a cover letter for each position, in addition to three references and a short writing sample. Check out these resources for help preparing your materials and join the Sustainability Institute and Changemaker Collaborative mailing lists to stay up to date on the application process and announcement of the 2021 Fellowships.    

See the timeline at the top of the page for important dates. 

Interested in hiring a Fellow? Learn more:

Sustainability Fellowships pair exceptional students from UNH and across the country with companies, non-profits, government agencies, and academic institutions throughout New England to work on transformative sustainability initiatives each summer. Our aim is to cultivate projects that catalyze long-term, substantial change for our Partners, provide a rich experiential learning opportunity for our Fellows, and spark interdisciplinary collaboration throughout our growing network. Projects may focus on any sustainability topic – common themes include renewable energy, carbon emissions, climate resilience, social justice, food systems and responsible investing. The type of work that Fellows may undertake varies from community engagement to data analysis, from science to policy, and from research to implementation, depending on the goals of the host organization.  

Check out some of our past and present host organizations

The UNH Sustainability Fellows program provides two offerings for partner organizations:

Undergraduate UNH Fellows are available for organizations who:

  • Need to add capacity to contribute to important sustainability initiatives.
  • Want to support the development of a sustainability talent pipeline within the state of New Hampshire.
  • Are eager to help train the next generation of sustainability leaders.
  • Are able to make a modest investment to compensate an undergraduate Fellow for their time and dedication.

Graduate NATIONAL Fellows are available for organizations who:

  • Need to add specialized expertise to take on important sustainability initiatives.
  • Want to select a Fellow from a broader pool with more advanced qualifications.
  • Are eager to help train the next generation of sustainability leaders.
  • Are able to make a slightly greater investment to compensate a Fellow who has completed an undergraduate degree or more, and has specialized skills that will make a unique contribution to the project.

SEE Examples of past Fellowship opportunities

You design the project. We recruit a highly qualified Fellow with qualifications specifically tailored to the needs of your project and organization. We work together to train and mentor your Fellow throughout the summer, jointly invested in the project’s success and the Fellow’s education. Here’s what partner organizations get out of hosting a Fellow:

  • World-class talent working on-site with you to support your sustainability initiatives
  • A pool of applicants with skills aligned to the needs of your project
  • Collaboration and support in developing your project plan
  • An outstanding Fellow who is supported by an active network of sustainability professionals
  • Recruiting, hiring, payroll, HR, and professional development coordinated by UNH
  • Opportunities to network with other organizations engaged in similar work

Host partners are primarily responsible for the design of the Fellowship projects and for the day-to-day oversight of their Fellows. Partners are asked to participate in the selection of their Fellow, co-develop a project plan with our staff, engage with the network, and most importantly, prioritize the meaningful mentorship of their Fellow. Specifically, partner organizations commit to:

  • Develop a project that will be impactful for the partner organization and intellectually stimulating for the Fellow. Create a detailed project work plan in collaboration with our staff.
  • Engage in the interview and selection process.
  • Designate a primary Fellowship mentor who will provide project guidance, be accessible on a day-to-day basis as needed and reserve at least two hours per week for regularly scheduled meetings with the Fellow during the Fellowship term, June 1 – August 20.
  • Encourage the Fellow’s participation in training and networking opportunities provided by our staff, Fellowship presentations and additional activities relevant to the fellow’s project and/or career.
  • Ensure that the mentor can participate in orientation (June 2), midterm (July 15) and final presentation events (Aug 12). (Travel support is available.)
  • Be available for 2-3 planning calls with us and provide two brief written updates on the Fellow’s progress over the course of the summer. 
  • Actively connect with other Fellows and partners throughout the network.
  • Provide the Fellow with an adequate workspace, computer, phone, travel funds and other necessary resources and contacts required for the successful completion of the project. If the Fellow has a disability, the partner organization will make reasonable accommodations.
  • Provide and receive feedback at the end of the Fellowship term.

We mutually invest with the host partners, in the learning experience of each Fellow and the impactful outcome of each project. Fellows receive compensation for their work according to their level of education. Host partners are asked to contribute at the following rates*:

Undergraduate Fellow: $6,500

Graduate Fellow: $8,000

* UNH raises funds to enable partners to host Fellows, even if they are not able to contribute at this level. In their proposals, host partners have an opportunity to state the level at which they can contribute. Through the generous support of Jane’s Trust Foundation, Josephine A. Lamprey, alumni of the program, and others, UNH is able to offer grants to offset a portion of the partner’s contribution for many organizations, especially municipalities and non-profits. 

Partner organizations interested in hosting a Fellow for summer 2021 are invited to propose Fellowship projects in November 2020 (RFP to be released November 6, 2020).  Contact program staff to express your interest now. 

Ideal Fellowship projects include the following characteristics:

  • The project is likely to catalyze long-term, substantial change, and/or to establish a replicable model.
  • The project goals and approach are considered through a social justice lens.     
  • The work is challenging, in-depth, and the selected Fellow can assume significant ownership.
  • The outcomes are tangible and can be completed in 400 hours during the summer. 
  • The Fellow’s time and expertise are critical to completing the work.
  • Mentors are invested in the outcome of the project as well as the Fellow’s experience.
  • Partner organizations have a demonstrated structure in place to support and supervise a Fellow.
  • Partner organization can demonstrate that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important aspects of the organization’s mission, operations, and/or mentorship team. 

Because the program emphasizes collaboration, projects are also selected based upon their potential to complement one another.  As such, it may also be helpful to consider:

  • The program routinely includes projects focused on carbon emissions, clean energy, climate resilience, responsible investing, food systems and social justice.    
  • All fellowships will be located in New England and Fellowships in geographic proximity to one another (regardless of topic area) are highly encouraged. Consider suggesting that other organizations in your local area host a Fellow. 

Sustainability Fellow Spotlights

  • Narges Matini
    2020 Sustainability Fellow - Flood-induced Roadway Damage Risk Analysis | UNH Center for Infrastructure Resilience to Climate (UCIRC)
    Narges Matini is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Pavement Engineering at North Carolina State University. The recent increase in the frequency and infrastructure impacts from extreme events has increased her awareness of and desire to research the impact of flooding and heatwave on the structural performance of the pavement system. It became her passion to find approaches to design resilient pavement…
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  • Anu Makinde
    2020 Sustainability Fellow - Energy Efficiency and New American Communities |  Burlington Electric Department / Vermont Gas Systems - Burlington, VT
    Anu Makinde has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Peace, Justice, and Ecology from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Working in her school’s sustainability department has taught her the importance of community engagement and inclusion regarding sustainability education as she met with campus groups to encourage sustainable practices. Growing up in a New American family taught…
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  • David Larson
    2020 Sustainability Fellow - Utility Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory | Unitil
    David Larson was a rising senior at Amherst College in Massachusetts, pursuing a B.A. in Environmental Studies and English. During the summer he worked with Unitil, a small investor-owned utility company, to develop their first greenhouse gas emissions inventory. As the company's first report, the inventory will help determine emissions baselines and best practices for data collection, as…
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  • Mary Potts
    2020 Sustainability Fellow - Municipal Carbon and Nitrogen Footprint Analyses | Town of Durham, NH
    Mary Potts worked with the Town of Durham, NH to conduct an inventory of the Town’s municipal carbon and nitrogen emissions. Using the Sustainability Indicator Management Analysis Platform, she quantified Durham’s carbon and nitrogen footprints, recommended strategies to reduce municipal emissions, and developed a plan for a future community-wide inventory. Mary holds a BA in Environmental…
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  • Carly Peruccio
    2020 Sustainability Fellow - Keene Sustainable Energy Plan: Outreach and Education | City of Keene, NH
    Carly Peruccio is an audio producer with an interest in state and municipal policy. As a Sustainability Fellow, she worked with the City of Keene to engage community members in Keene’s sustainable energy planning process, using audio storytelling to encourage local support for Keene’s energy goals and to highlight progress. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in French from…
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