Schneider Summer Fellowships: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 2022
NRDC is a non-profit international environmental advocacy organization with 3.1 million members and online activists. They use law, policy, and science to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and now has a staff of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others working across the United States and internationally from offices in New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Santa Monica; San Francisco; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing.
Program/Project: Climate and Clean Energy/Renewable Energy
Office: New York
Project Manager: Nathanael Greene
NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy Program is seeking a Fellow to conduct research and engage in planning with a with a cross-institutional working group on scaling up the supply chain for clean energy technologies. Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change will require a massive deployment of clean energy technologies, which in turn will require a commiserate scaling up of the supply chain for manufacturing these technologies. From manufacturing back to processing back to mining, this supply chain can have significant ecological and social justice impacts if not done right. There are three broad categories of solutions: 1) strengthening existing laws such as the mining law of 1872; 2) establishing new standards especially for international trade; and 3) developing new laws and standards to encourage a circular economy including reducing demand and recycling. NRDC does work in each category and is working to better integrate our existing efforts, identify the gaps in our efforts, and research policies that best fill those gaps.
The fellow will conduct a focused research project to help NRDC decide what policies NRDC should be advancing to fill gaps in our current efforts. While the specifics of the research project may well change based on the fellow’s interests and current events, a possible area of focus would be supply chain standards that large renewable energy buyers could adopt for wind, solar and battery purchases. The fellow will write a policy briefing memo to be presented to key NRDC staff. They will also be responsible for gathering and circulating articles and attending meetings with this cross-institutional working group.
Program/Project: Science Office
Office: New York (DC also possible)
Project Manager(s): Stacy Woods (primary) and Kristi Pullen Fedinick
NRDC’s Science Office is seeking a Fellow to work with its Data Science team to develop and improve NRDC’s data infrastructure and technical methodologies related to sustainable energy. A significant focus of the fellow’s work will be to develop replicable processes for extracting, cleaning, storing, and sharing public and internal energy-related data for use within and outside of NRDC. In this way, the fellow’s work with energy data will serve as a template for data science and infrastructure practices for the organization more broadly.
During the course of the fellowship, the fellow will identify data sources that are relevant to assessing the influence of policies and programs on sustainable energy outcomes and develop automated processes for extracting that data for use by NRDC staff and partners. For example, the fellow might develop an internal, fully automated warehouse that draws publicly available data from EPA, EIA, FERC, national labs, IEA, World Bank, and other resources, that can be utilized by NRDC staff members and our partners to assess and support policy and project-level goals and outcomes. The fellow might then assess the warehoused data using techniques like inferential statistics, machine learning, and/or predictive analytics to identify associations between specific policies/programs and sustainable energy uptake, and to predict future outcomes. For example, did the expiration of the federal 1603 grant (2011) and/or the reduction of the federal tax credit for solar panels (2019) significantly impact solar uptake, controlling for cost? Do the trends differ in states with additional incentives or policies, e.g., North Carolina’s renewable energy tax credit? What can be learned from any identified associations so that we might promote policies and programs that lead to greater uptake of sustainable energy in the future?
During the course of the fellowship, the fellow may also have opportunities to participate in the following activities (time and interest permitting):
- Develop graphics and/or interactive interfaces to communicate key findings from the project to diverse audiences, including NRDC colleagues, policy makers, community members, and/or the media
- Create additional materials such as blog posts and fact sheets
- Participate in science storytelling to share the findings of the project and to promote science in environmental advocacy in accessible ways to non-technical audiences
Please indicate relevant technical skills on your application, such as:
- Programming languages (e.g., R, Python, SQL, PL SQL)
- Data visualization software (e.g., Tableau)
- GIS (e.g., ArcGIS, QGIS, ArcPy)
- Statistical and predictive analysis, query writing, machine learning, other relevant methodological skills
Program/Project: People and Communities/Resilient Communities, &Transportation
Office: Santa Monica, CA
Project Manager(s): Carter Rubin, Zak Accuardi
NRDC’s Healthy People, Thriving Communities (HPTC) program is seeing a Fellow to work with its Transportation team focusing on analysis, report development, and advocacy, to pursue NRDC’s new Climate Strategy priorities for the transportation sector. The Fellowship project will focus on opportunities and barriers to engage state governments in shifting transportation investments away from highway projects that increase emissions and towards healthy and sustainable transportation choices such as public transit, biking, walking and electric vehicles.
The Fellowship includes analysis of state transportation budgets, programs and selection criteria for transportation infrastructure and clean vehicles, as well as the impacts of a potential, large influx of federal transportation funding. The focus will be on the NRDC Climate Strategy Transportation priority states in year one: California, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The Fellowship may also provide an opportunity to work with NGO partners in the five priority states to support partner-oriented research and advocacy needs.
Work products may include stand-alone documents or memos that will be incorporated into NRDC reports, factsheets, blogs, briefings, and presentations. The Fellow will have the opportunity to engage with other stakeholders and policymakers.
Program/Project: Climate & Clean Energy Program/Federal Clean Energy Policy
Office: Washington, DC
Project Manager(s): Amanda Levin
NRDC's Climate & Clean Energy (C&CE) Program is seeking a Fellow to complete research and analysis on the clean energy transition in the U.S. and the implications it has on domestic and international decarbonization strategies. The fellow will dedicate most of their time with the Policy Analysis Team, with potential opportunities to work with state C&CE advocates and colleagues in the international and nature programs depending on fellow interest.
NRDC’s C&CE analysis team works with policymakers, industry, environmental groups, and other stakeholders to advocate for policies to reduce climate-warming emissions across the economy by providing modeling, data analysis, and other technical support. The Schneider Fellow will be an integral part of our team, analyzing policy design questions and helping develop technical resources for our climate and energy advocacy domestically, and depending on interest, abroad.
Fellows typically work on one to two long-term projects, with the ability to assist with short-term or light-touch projects to complement their in-depth project. Fellow projects are developed in consultation with the fellow to gauge interest and skill set. They are usually finalized ahead of or within the first two days of the fellowship start date.
Past long-term fellow projects include:
- Assisting with the development, drafting, and publication of NRDC’s annual energy report, which reviews the most recent data to present an overall picture of the U.S. energy sector (see previous reports here). The scope of work typically includes: (1) completing research on recent U.S. energy trends and milestones, (2) compiling and synthesizing data from a variety of sources, and (3) drafting sections of the annual energy report.
- Work on state energy policy analysis and modeling. This includes assisting with the interpretation and analysis of data, drafting, and publication of issue briefs, blogs, and fact sheets on state energy modeling to support NRDC’s advocacy at the state level (e.g., a past fellow was a co-author of a "Climate Action in New Mexico" issue brief).
- Work on proactive federal policy, helping review modeling and develop graphics and other materials from this modeling for use in our and partners’ advocacy at the federal level. As an example, see this blog written by a past analysis fellow.
- Conducting analyses of potential local and equity impacts of market-based policies, in consultation with other NRDC programs.
The fellow may also work on assisting with the development and review of other climate & clean energy materials, such as blogs, comments and testimony to state utility commissions, and consultant tools and reports.
Program/Project: People and Communities/Energy Equity and Affordability
Office: Washington, DC
Project Manager(s): Lamisa Chowdhury (co-manager tbd)
NRDC’s Healthy People, Thriving Communities (HPTC) program is seeing a Fellow to work with the Energy Efficiency For All project’s coalition priorities. Through our work on Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), we plan to continue to unite people from diverse sectors and backgrounds to collectively make multifamily affordable homes energy and water efficient. Advocates builds power to change policies and practices by seeding and supporting coalitions in 12 states. Each of these state coalitions include a variety of housing, health, energy efficiency, environmental, environmental justice, renter, and community advocacy organizations that have not typically worked together in the past. EEFA does this work so people in under-invested communities – particularly black, Latinx, and other communities of color – who have been marginalized can equitably benefit from the health, economic, and environmental advantages of energy and water efficiency. Reducing energy and water use in affordable multifamily housing will improve the quality of life for millions, preserve affordable housing across the country, reduce the energy burden on those who feel it the hardest, and cut carbon pollution.
The Fellow will receive direct mentorship from a policy advocate to develop a deliverable for their portfolio based in balancing the project needs and Fellow’s interests and goals. The Fellow’s work will also support the Resilient Communities cross-cutting work as needed.
Program/Project: International/India Climate Change and Clean Energy
Office: Washington, DC
Project Manager: Sameer Kwatra
NRDC’s International program is seeking a Fellow to work with its International team focusing on analysis, report development, and advocacy aimed to maximize NRDC’s strategic priority areas on climate change, health and cities and international climate policy. The Fellow project will work with experts both internally and externally with expertise in climate change, health, energy efficiency, climate finance and air pollution.
The Fellowship will provide an excellent opportunity to investigate major barriers and potential solutions to clean energy access, air quality, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. The Fellowship includes analysis of India’s renewable market, energy efficiency, climate adaption focused on heat stress, air pollution, and implementing the country’s climate commitments. Work products may include stand-alone documents or memos that will be incorporated into NRDC reports, factsheets, blogs, briefings, and presentations. The Fellow will have the opportunity to engage with other stakeholders and policymakers.
Program/Project: Climate and Clean Energy/Refrigerants and Building Decarbonization
Office: Washington, DC or San Francisco
Project Manager(s): Alex Hillbrand, Pierre Delforge
NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy Program is seeking a Fellow to work on policies at the intersection of decarbonizing buildings and phasing down climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. The fellow will explore some of the many issues that may arise as we rapidly deploy refrigerant-based heat pumps in place of fossil fuel water and space heating appliances while simultaneously overhauling the types of refrigerants they use. The fellow will contribute research and writing to thought papers and blogs and will conduct analysis on the scope of the challenge, possible solutions, and policy opportunities to promote widescale adoption of better solutions and practices.
Specific work areas may include assessing likely growth in the refrigerant market under rapid building decarbonization scenarios, setting design standards for heat pumps to limit unnecessary refrigerant use, emissions, and global warming potential, developing best practices to downsize heat pumps and air conditioners to minimize cost and environmental impacts and maximize energy efficiency, assessing the relationship between refrigerant charge levels and energy efficiency, and more.
For all Fellowships:
The Fellow will gain skills in research and analysis, written advocacy, oral advocacy, legislative and/or regulatory processes, and inclusive and equitable policy development. The Fellow will be an integral part of NRDC’s team and will gain exposure to a variety of activities including attending policy meetings, working with private sector stakeholders, engaging in joint advocacy with other partners, conducting policy analysis and development, and doing legislative and regulatory research and drafting.
We particularly encourage candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement. You should apply if you are eager to be part of a cross-cutting team; learn about clean energy and equity; gain valuable policy, writing, speaking, and analytic skills; and to be an active team member tackling climate, equity, and policy issues. Eligible candidates include those with undergraduate or graduate level experience in energy, science, engineering, economics, public policy and/or law, including candidates with multi-disciplinary experience and/or joint degrees. You must be a current student to apply.
Compensation for this Stanford-paid internship will be provided in the form of a $9,500 stipend from Stanford University’s Schneider Summer Fellowship program.
NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming a diversity of voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.
To apply, please visit www.nrdc.org/careers and upload your resume and cover letter through our online portal. Due to the high volume of applications NRDC receives, we will only contact candidates we would like to progress through the search process. Please no phone calls, emails, faxes, or in-person resume drop-offs. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
If you are having technical difficulty while applying, or if you are a person with a disability and you need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care by dialing 1-800-889-4422.
For further information about NRDC, please visit www.nrdc.org.
For complete eligibility requirements, please review our program policies in its entirety.
Undergraduates and graduate students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply, and applicants may vary in academic interests, public service involvement, and experience. Priority will be given to students who have completed fewer than two previous Cardinal Quarter opportunities.
Selected Fellows are expected to begin service by June 20, 2022 for a summer fellowship. All fellows are required to work with their community partners full-time for twelve consecutive weeks at their placements. Fellows may be required to work remotely depending on the forthcoming University policies. Please review the complete program policies for additional requirements. Other commitments include the following:
Quarter before fellowship
- Complete an online program orientation.
- Complete Engaging in Ethical and Effective Service workshop or worksheet.
- Attend Schneider Fellows cohort session(s)
- Design a personal learning plan and share the learning plan with site supervisor and academic mentor.
- Submit a brief preliminary report.
- Submit a final report, complete a program evaluation, and correspond with fellowship donor(s) as requested by fellowships program staff.
Quarter after fellowship
- Attend a de-briefing meeting for the purpose of reflecting upon and evaluating fellowship experiences.
- Participate in outreach activities to share the experience and help publicize the program.
For those who seek assistance, advising is available at the Haas Center to help students develop their applications.
This fellowship is intended for individuals whose application, references, and interview demonstrate
- an integration of the fellowship experience with applicant’s academic, personal and/or career goals
- prior demonstrated interest or involvement in the subject area, including related coursework
- a compelling match between applicant’s skills and interests and an organization’s work and needs
- strong potential for the fellowship experience to enlarge a candidate’s understanding of an identified community issue or challenge
Complete applications are screened, finalists interviewed, and fellows selected by our partner organizations with the intention to award fellowships within six weeks of the application deadline. Applicants should respond promptly (within 48 hours) via email to a fellowship offer, or the offer will be rescinded. Once an applicant accepts a fellowship offer, the student should promptly notify all other Stanford and non-Stanford programs to which they have applied that they have accepted another offer and to withdraw their candidacy.