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Cardinal Quarter

2024 Environmental Policy Internships in CA (EPIC): California Ocean Protection Council

Environmental Sustainability

About EPIC:

The State of California is a leader in developing cutting-edge policies in response to climate change and other environmental and natural resource challenges.  Other states, the federal government and nations follow and seek to imitate California's forward-thinking public policy efforts. The Stanford Woods Institute identifies key state agencies and decision-makers who are addressing these pressing environmental issues to create exciting summer internship placement opportunities for Stanford undergraduates.

Woods, in collaboration with the Haas Center for Public Service and Stanford in Government, offers undergraduates paid summer internships that provide a hands-on introduction to environmental policy work. The fellowships are full-time (35-40 hours/week) for 10 or 12 consecutive weeks. Students who are selected will receive mentoring from environmental professionals and directly contribute to solving important sustainability challenges that are facing the public. EPIC fellows receive a $7,500 - $9,000 stipend (for 10 weeks) or $9,000 - $10,500 (for 12 weeks of work), depending on financial need.

About the California Ocean Protection Council:

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) works to ensure healthy, resilient, productive coastal and ocean ecosystems in California for current and future generations.  We achieve this by advancing innovative, science-based policy and management, making strategic investments, and catalyzing action through partnerships and collaboration. Our priorities include: safeguarding coastal and marine ecosystems and communities in the face of climate change; advancing equity across ocean and coastal policies and actions; enhancing coastal and marine biodiversity; and improving ocean health through a blue economy.

As a Cabinet-level state policy body nested within the California Natural Resources Agency, OPC advances the Governor’s priorities for coastal and ocean policy and works broadly to protect the coast and ocean in California. The seven-member Council is chaired by the Secretary for Natural Resources and includes the Secretary for Environmental Protection, the Chair of the State Lands Commission, two public members, and two members of the Legislature.  OPC is led by an Executive Director who also serves as the Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy for the California Natural Resources Agency.

Position Description:

  • Influence policy and lead collaborations that cascade across the California Natural Resource Agency
  • Participate in cross-cutting state, regional and international initiatives
  • Work with dedicated, passionate staff
  • Obtain experience working at the intersection of science, policy, and management

Potential Projects:

  • Advancing priorities in OPC’s 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan to Protect California’s Coast and Ocean related to climate change, equity, biodiversity, equity, and the sustainable blue economy. 
  • Reviewing grant proposals for projects that support OPC’s programmatic priorities
  • Monitoring and analyzing state and federal legislation affecting ocean and coastal policy
  • Please visit the OPC website to see current strategic priorities and focal areas where potential projects are possible.

Desired Qualities, Skills and Abilities:

  • Strong communication, interpersonal and leadership skills
  • Ability to think critically and develop innovative ideas
  • Ability to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines
  • Ability to understand and translate science for diverse audiences
  • Ability to work effectively in a team and independently


  • Location for this opportunity can be flexible.  Currently, OPC staff are in office 2 days per month.   The EPIC fellow may choose to participate in this opportunity fully in-person or hybrid (at the CNRA Office Building in Sacramento, CA) or fully remote.
  • EPIC fellows have the option to work full-time (35+ hours per week) for 10 weeks (stipend: $7,500-$9,000, depending on financial need) or 12 weeks (stipend: $9,000-$10,500, depending on financial need) over the summer.



Undergraduates from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply, and applicants may vary in academic interests, public service involvement, and experience. Students must be enrolled for winter and spring quarters of this year and be in good academic standing to be eligible for a fellowship. Applications will only be accepted from students who will be enrolled as undergraduates for the following academic year, so unfortunately, graduating seniors cannot apply. The one exception to this rule is seniors who will be working toward a co-term degree during the following academic year. Co-term students must not have their undergraduate degree conferred until Fall 2024 to be eligible. Please refer to the Haas Center for Public Service's website for additional Cardinal Quarter Undergraduate Fellowship Program Policies and Requirements.

Note: students are only eligible for one Stanford-funded full-time experiential learning opportunity during the summer, and are not permitted to engage in another full-time internship, job, coursework, or volunteer opportunity. Students are responsible for arranging and paying for their own housing and transportation during the fellowship.


Fellows are required to work at least 35 hours/week for ten or twelve consecutive weeks at their placements. Fellows are expected to have a designated full-time professional staff member as their supervisor/mentor. Please review the entire FAQs section for program policies. Other commitments include the following:

Spring Quarter:

  • Commit to working full-time (35-40 hours week) for 10 or 12 consecutive weeks (depending on which option you select)
  • Complete an online program orientation through the Haas Center for Public Service
    • This will include designing a personal learning plan that you will share with your site supervisor and academic mentor
  • Complete the Engaging in Ethical and Effective Service in-person workshop or worksheet
  • Meet with your assigned Stanford academic mentor at least once prior to the start of the fellowship (more check-ins during and after your experience are encouraged)
  • Attend EPIC cohort building events and activities in spring quarter, as your schedule allows
  • Complete and submit all required forms and paperwork

Summer Quarter:

  • Engage in your full-time fellowship (starting no later than July 8, 2024; exact start date to be determined with your site supervisor)
  • Attend EPIC cohort building events and activities in the summer, as your schedule allows
  • Submit a mid-summer evaluation
  • Submit a final project report, complete a program evaluation, and correspond with donor(s) as requested by program staff

Fall Quarter:

  • Debrief with your academic mentor at least once
  • Attend a de-briefing meeting for the purpose of reflecting upon and evaluating summer experiences
  • Participate in outreach activities to share your experiences and help publicize the program




United States


February 13, 2024 | 11:59 PM
* This Application Deadline has passed

Open To


Offered By

Stanford in Government
Woods Institute for the Environment
Haas Center for Public Service
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