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2019 Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program

Opportunity Type: 

Deadline January 7, 2017

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation invites applications from highly talented graduate students in New England and California for Switzer Environmental Fellowships for the academic year 2019-2020.  The Fellowship includes a $15,000 cash award for academic studies, two multi-day leadership development trainings, and membership in the Switzer Fellowship Network. Twenty fellowships will be awarded to assist graduate students in a broad range of environmental science and related fields.  Guidelines and instructions are available on our website at All applications must be submitted online per the instructions.

The Switzer Fellowship Program

For 32 years, the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation has sponsored Fellowships for environmental graduate studentsfrom diverse academic and personal backgrounds in New England and California. Each Fellowship award includes a $15,000 cash award and participation in two multi-day retreat trainings.  The Switzer Fellowship represents an extraordinary opportunity for selected students, supporting individuals who demonstrate leadership in seeking sustainable and equitable solutions to environmental problems.  (The Switzer Fellowship is NOT a research grant.)  This year we will be selecting the 33rdclass of Switzer Fellows since the program was founded in 1986.

The Switzer Environmental Fellowship awards are extremely competitive.  Twenty Fellowships are awarded each year to students who are enrolled in graduate programsat accredited institutions in the six New England states and California.  Ten Fellowships are awarded in New England, and ten in California.  We typically receive well over 150 applications for the ten Fellowships in each region.  A full description of the Fellowship program is found on our website at  We continue to encourage Master’s degree applicants, students of color, first generation graduate students, and individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups in environmental graduate programs to apply.

The goal of the Switzer Foundation is to mobilize leaders from diverse disciplines to find integrated solutions to environmental problems.  As part of the Fellowship, awardees will participate in two required multi-day trainingsand networking retreats during the Fellowship year, and have access to long-term leadership developmentopportunities throughout their careers.  Switzer Fellows become part of the Switzer Fellowship Network of over 600 environmental professionals and Fellowship alumni.  The Switzer Fellowship Networkis a highly respected resource locally, nationally and internationally for non-profit organizations, government agencies, policy makers, and others. Bolstered by the Foundation’s long-term support, Switzer Fellows are using their expertise in natural and social sciences to sustain, restore, and steward our life support systems and create sustainable communities.  In addition to the Fellowship award, Switzer Fellows gain access to other Switzer Foundation grant programs and professional development opportunities to advance their careers. 

Candidate Profile

Candidates for the Fellowship should demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, be able to clearly communicate how they will apply their studies and their expertise to environmental issues, and convey a clarity and sense of purpose about their work.  Leadership qualities valued by the Switzer Foundation include a desire to work collaboratively and across disciplines, a commitment to a career in applied environmental work, interest in developing and refining leadership skills, and enthusiasm for building networks across fields and sectors.  Candidates for the Switzer Fellowship are chosen not only for their excellence in academic and scientific or technical work, but also on their dedication to aggressively pursue practical and equitable solutions to environmental problems.  Fellows have studied in a range of fields including conservation science, environmental law, public policy, natural resources management, environmental justice, city planning, business, engineering, law, journalism and more.  We seek applications from, and will make awards to, students from many different graduate schools and programs, and from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences. More detailed information about the Switzer Foundation, the Environmental Fellowship Program, and the network of Switzer Fellows can be found on the Switzer Foundation’s website at

The Switzer Foundation is interested in applications from both terminal Master’s degree students and doctoral students.  Master’s studentswho are likely to continue to a doctoral program should not apply until the doctoral stage. To be eligible, PhD studentsmusthave completed at least threeyears of doctoral study as of July 1, 2019orhave passed their qualifying exams by May 1, 2019, no exceptions.  All potential applicants must be U.S. citizens in order to be eligible.

How to Apply

Theonline application formand instructions are available on our website at  All applications must be submitted by January 7, 2019, with all required documentation.  Paper applications, incomplete applications, or late submissions will not be considered.

If you have any questions, please contact Foundation staff by phone at 207-338-5654 or by e-mail as follows:

·       For eligibility and general questions:    Erin Lloyd, Program Director -

·     For technical assistance with online applications: Laine Kuehn, Administrative Coordinator –