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Cardinal Quarter

Schneider Summer Fellowships: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) 2022

Environmental Sustainability

The US Power Sector: Ensuring a Just and Equitable Transition to Clean Energy

(2 Fellows)-Cambridge, MA

Our power sector needs a just and equitable transition to clean energy. The US electricity landscape is rapidly transforming, fueled by the falling costs of clean energy options like solar, wind, and battery storage, and the eroding economics of coal power, in particular. That transformation offers tremendous opportunities to create jobs while improving public health, environmental quality, and energy affordability and reliability. But maximizing the benefits to people, workers, and communities most affected by disproportionate impacts from our energy system will take sustained attention -- both to legacy technologies like coal and natural gas and to the opportunities for increasing investments in clean energy technologies and systems.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a national nonprofit organization that uses rigorous, independent science to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. Today, we are a group of nearly 250 scientists and analysts, policy and communication experts, and other staff dedicated to that purpose.

During summer 2022, two UCS Schneider Sustainable Energy Fellows will work directly with Climate & Energy program staff offices on just and equitable transition issues, particularly in the context of the deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In partnership with an external expert advisory committee, we recently released a national analysis of the technical and economic feasibility of reducing such emissions deeply across the economy by 2050 under a range of technology pathways and scenarios. With guidance from community partners, we are modeling the feasibility and implications -- technical, public health, and cost -- of taking state leadership to the next level, with 100% renewable electricity commitments in the near term. We will be building on those efforts and other analyses for developing and promoting ambitious, equitable, and just policy recommendations around health, just transition, lifecycle impacts of energy technologies, clean transportation, and governance issues.

While we tailor each Fellow’s projects to best fit their skills and interests and our needs at the time of the fellowship, fellows typically have one larger project and several smaller ones for both depth and breadth in the fellowship. Some possible projects include:

  • Building on recent UCS analyses by, for example, supporting members of our deep-reductions analysis’s expert advisory committee in advancing their work at the local, state, or regional levels that uses the findings and recommendations from our shared work, and supporting 100% clean energy outreach and advocacy in key states
  • Assessing state progress on both reducing carbon emissions and enhancing climate resilience, and supporting the development of analytical approaches to incorporating climate resilience in UCS’s power-sector modeling
  • Researching the lifecycle implications of increasing clean energy technologies, from raw material sourcing to recycling or disposal of solar panels, wind turbines, and storage batteries, and options for minimizing impacts
  • Investigating equity issues and opportunities around building electrification and transitions away from natural gas for home energy use
  • Supporting clean energy analysis, public education, and advocacy, and helping with the development of texts, web features, and social media to publicize and promote components of a just transition

We are searching for candidates with a strong interest in electricity, climate change, and equity. Ideal candidates will have solid research skills, and a willingness to take on new challenges and work in a team setting. While the position can adjust based on particular qualifications, we’re looking for graduate-level or other advanced experience in energy systems, public policy, economics, science, or engineering. Strong analytic or writing skills would be a definite plus, as would experience with mapping/GIS for at least one of the fellowships.

Along with being exposed to a range of clean energy issues and allies, UCS Schneider Fellows will be engage fully in the activities of our vibrant Cambridge headquarters, located right in Harvard Square, and may have the opportunity to travel to one of our other offices or to participate in other work-related travel.




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.

During fellowship

  • 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.

Selection Process: 

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.




United States


January 19, 2022 | 11:59 PM
* This Application Deadline has passed

Open To

Graduate Students


Offered By

Haas Center for Public Service
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