Environmental Justice Fellowship


The mission of the Environmental Justice Fellowship at Whittier College centers on social and racial justice and diverse peoples’ cultural relationships and understandings of land, ecologies, and the environment.

Fellows further our understanding of the historical and historically rooted contemporary ways of being one with nature against environmental colonialism and racism. They decolonize mainstream understandings of environmentalism and focus their work on the effects of the global climate emergency and racist environmental policies that are disproportionately felt and lived by marginalized peoples. The Environmental Justice Fellowship empowers students to participate in a project or experience that will allow them to seek meaningful and effective redress for environmental harms that disproportionately impact indigenous peoples and low-income and communities of color around the globe. As part of the fellowship experience, fellows should also develop skills, knowledge, and purpose and seek to create impactful and reciprocal partnerships with the geographic and cultural communities in which Whittier College exists.

Eligibility Criteria

  • First-years, sophomores or juniors with good academic standing
  • Open to students of any major or academic program

Selection Criteria

  • How well the proposed project or experience aligns with the mission of the Environmental Justice Fellowship.
  • How well the proposed project or experience aligns with the student’s academic and/or career goals.
  • The feasibility of successfully completing the proposed project or experience within the proposed timeframe.

Program Benefits

The value of awards will be determined by a faculty committee of the Environmental Justice Fellowship. The distribution of the fellowship award funds will be as follows:

  • A stipend of $4,000.
  • The faculty members will also receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the project.

Applying to the Program

The application is due on March 4, 2024. Use this guide to gather your application documents. Request these items two weeks prior to the deadline.

A complete application consists of:

  • Unofficial academic transcripts.
  • Current semester Course Progress Report for each 3-4 credit course you are enrolled in.
  • Signed sample Student Contract.
  • Signed Mentor Contract.
  • A written recommendation letter from the faculty mentor for the project.
  • A reference contact from a faculty member outside your major and the project’s focus. 
  • A 500-word essay explaining how you became interested in the project, why you want this fellowship opportunity, how you will benefit from the fellowship both personally and professionally, and what personal qualities (skills, attributes, and/or abilities) you possess that will ensure a successful fellowship experience. 
  • A 1000-word essay indicating the primary objective of your project, discuss why is it important, explain the methodology(ies)/ approach(es) that will be used to accomplish your objective, present a timeline for the project during the fellowship period, and identify the end result(s) of your project (e.g., a public presentation at URSCA or other conference, a paper, a report, art work, play, etc.). 
  • Selected applicants may be interviewed.

Fellowship Advisor

Professor Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez