Environmental Studies understands that our students don’t only want to learn about environmental issues in class. They also want to apply their knowledge & skills on the ground, and make a positive impact in our community. Our Impact Internships embed students within St. Louis organizations, engaging with the environmental issues that impact people’s lives every day. To become an Impact Intern, students may apply to available internships with Environmental Studies’ existing partner organizations (listed below), or seek environmental internships in the St. Louis region of their own choosing. For more information, see below. Apply today!

Summer 2020 Deadline: 1/31/2019

Thanks to generous support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are able to offer these regional climate action internship opportunities to students. These interns will work with partner institutions to support their work advancing  climate action in the St. Louis region. We are excited to have students join us and our partners in this important work.

***These internships take place OFF CAMPUS and require students to travel to an off-campus organization around St. Louis. ***

Climate Vulnerability Assessment Intern Transportation (East-West Gateway) – Open

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the St. Louis region. Its service area includes the city of St. Louis, the Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin, and the Illinois counties of Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair. EWG’s board of directors includes the chief elected officials of the eight county-level jurisdictions that it serves. As the MPO, EWG is responsible for transportation planning for all projects using federal funds in the region. This entails ongoing analyses of housing and employment trends, as well as environmental issues. EWG also functions as a council of governments, addressing other issues of regional concern at the direction of the board.”

Internship Description

The intern will assist in developing a climate vulnerability assessment for transportation assets in the St. Louis region. This work will inform the 2023 Long Range Transportation Plan produced by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the St. Louis region. The first phase of the project will entail downloading and processing downscaled climate projection data for multiple emissions scenarios and multiple climate models. In the second phase, the intern will use these projections as inputs for the Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool (VAST) developed by the Federal Highway Administration.

Essential skills include:

  • Ability to download and process large data sets using Excel.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

Desirable skills include:

  • Familiarity with statistical software such as SPSS or R
  • Some familiarity with geographic information systems.
  • Graduate standing or junior/senior standing in a quantitative discipline preferred.

 Internship Details

Start Date: Spring or Summer 2020
Duration: 2 semester commitment is preferred
Hours per week: 10
Supervisor: John Posey, Director of Research
Location: East-West Gateway’s downtown office

Energy Policy Intern (Renew Missouri – St. Louis) – Closed

Renew Missouri is a 501(c)(3) non-profit policy organization that advocates for renewable energy and energy efficiency policy statewide. Our mission is to transform Missouri into a leading state in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Renew Missouri’s St. Louis office works to advance best practices policies in St. Louis City and County and across the region’s municipalities. Renew Missouri is also committed to ensuring that clean energy solutions are delivered to low-income residents, renters in multifamily buildings, and communities of color across Missouri.

The Policy Intern will work closely with the Regional Director in Renew Missouri’s St. Louis office to develop the St. Louis region’s investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Projects will involve policy research, tracking legislative matters at the St. Louis Board of Alderman and Missouri Legislature, organizing with other advocates, and communications with the general public. The intern will gain familiarity in utility law and regulatory policy, get experience in writing and presenting before the public, and be exposed to the solar, wind and energy efficiency industries.

The ideal applicant should have an interest in pursuing practical gains toward a cleaner electricity grid, should be open-minded about working with individuals and groups from various political persuasions, and should have a basic understanding of the legislative process and the state and local levels. Flexibility and the ability to work both individually and in groups are key qualities in any Renew Missouri intern. Relevant experience may include: energy policy and electric utility regulation, legislative experience, climate advocacy experience, racial equity training, advocacy in low-income or disadvantaged communities.

Primary Projects

  • Assist staff in communication with legislators about renewable energy and energy efficiency policies
  • Assist staff in researching policies from other states and municipalities
  • Help educate Renew Missouri’s supporters on renewable and energy efficiency policies

Basic Qualifications:

Intern should have excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, strong oral and written communication skills, proficiency with computers (fluency with Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Docs, and Google Sheets). This internship may involve occasional travel to Columbia, Jefferson City, or Kansas City.

Hours: 10-15 hours/week, between January and May, 2020. Internship may be extended into the summer or beyond, and could develop into a full-time paid position.

Green the Church Intern (New Northside Missionary Baptist Church) – Open

Green The Church (GTC) is a national network seeking to leverage the power of the African American church to empower people of all faiths to be leaders in caring for the Earth, providing resources to educate, connect, and advocate for healthier communities. The 2019 Green the Church Conference took place here in St. Louis, hosted by New Northside Missionary Baptist Church (NNMBC). NNMBC is pursuing many projects as part of its environmental mission, and is seeking interns to support research, education, and advocacy activities. Not all of these activities will be completed at one time- based on intern ability & interest, interns can choose a focus area and NNMBC will prioritize project activities.

 Research Intern
Bench-marking: Learn bench-marking, assist NNMBC in tracking, learning and participation.

  • NNMBC as a Model Site: We would like NNMBC properties to be a model to educate, inform, assist and train of churches of color how to build, retrofit, equip, and adapt to best energy efficiency practices. Interns could research, identify grants, programs, that will allow for installation and implementation of as many technologies or being a test site for new technologies, create contextually informed communication to teach Faith communities of color how to access. This could include bench marking activities for NNMBC buildings
  • Interns can study, assist, as we begin to navigate with the EPA to help Faith Communities of Color learn and access current government programs to promote higher utilization of energy efficiency practices

Education Intern
Create, plan, fund, and implement a series of contests for African American youth to inform and raise awareness of environmental justice and climate issues using social media, and other arts such as graffiti with a special focus on getting participation of developmentally challenged youth (including contest categories for blind students/ deaf students and their community). Such intentionality not only empowers the developmentally challenged but would cause future leadership development for climate change leaders from that community.

  • Create, plan, organize, find funding for Green outings (bus tours/field trips) for African American faith communities to teach, inform, and educate on EJ, Climate change, Food security, energy efficiency.
  • Develop Climate Aware curriculum, create, plan, fund implement afterschool program to use curriculum to include food component and prepare format to replicate in other urban settings.

Grassroots Organizer Intern (Sierra Club) – Closed

Do you want to protect the planet? Are you looking to make a difference? Do you want to help move Missouri towards clean energy and protect our wild places? The Sierra Club is the place for you!

The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the country with 3.5 million dues paying members nationwide and more than 10,000 members in Missouri.

Scope: Work closely with supervisor to engage Missouri residents to enjoy, explore, and protect the planet.  Learn building blocks of Midwest Academy Grassroots Organizing and strategic community advocacy. Learn to organize people to take action and make a difference in your community. Lobby elected officials, work with community partners, engage the media, plan events, and speak to Missourians about the importance of protecting the planet.

Internship Activities

  • Learn and execute the tenants of the Midwest Academy of Grassroots Organizing model
  • Organize, plan, lead, and participate in events to highlight pro-environmental messages
  • Educate and inform audiences on Sierra Club priorities
  • Help coordinate events and activities
  • Produce written material, track data effectively, communicate with volunteers and support volunteer recruitment efforts

Experience and requirements:

  • Strong written and verbal skills, experience in public speaking
  • Passion for social and environmental justice
  • Experience in community organizing and community outreach preferred
  • Knowledge of environmental advocacy and/or St. Louis/ Missouri politics preferred
  • Ability to prioritize and meet deadlines to effectively reach goals
  • Self-motivated, flexible, and independent worker
  • Means of personal transportation preferred (not required), personal phone and laptop preferred (not required)

Internship Details:

Site Supervisor:  Gretchen Waddell Barwick, MSW, gretchen.waddellbarwick@sierraclub.org

Site location:  2818 Sutton Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63143

Benchmarking Intern (USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter) – Open

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter seeks a Benchmarking Intern to assist with our regional voluntary energy benchmarking efforts.

The primary responsibilities of the Benchmarking Intern are to:

  • Assist the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Staff and Advocacy Committee volunteers with outreach to local municipalities, non-profits, and congregations to encourage participation in the Chapter’s voluntary benchmarking campaign.
  • Assist municipalities and other building owners with the process of benchmarking their buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, which will include working with staff to collect building energy and water data, property use details needed for benchmarking, setting up properties in Portfolio Manager, and setting up a process so municipalities can be successful with continued benchmarking in the future. Training to use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager will be provided.
  • Work with municipal staff and / or municipal green team to make municipal building data publicly available.
  • Work with municipal staff and / or municipal green team to recommend options for improving energy efficiency in municipal buildings – taking advantage of utility incentives and other resources – with the ultimate goal of reaching an ENERGY STAR score of 75 and applying for certification where applicable.
  • Work with municipal staff and / or municipal green team to encourage private building owners to participate in the Chapter’s voluntary benchmarking campaign. This could include, but is not limited to, working with municipal staff to conduct outreach to and provide benchmarking assistance to specific groups of building owners (congregations, schools, etc.).
  • Assist with promotion and recognition of voluntary benchmarking campaign and its participants, including the solicitation and compilation of relevant case studies and success stories.
  • Maintain consistent communication with USGBC-Missouri Gateway Staff and Advocacy Committee volunteers about activities, and attend Advocacy Committee meetings when possible (first Wednesday of the month, noon – 1:30 pm at the Chapter office).

The Benchmarking Internship will be of interest to students in technical, engineering, architectural, or scientific programs, as well as students in urban planning and environmental programs.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Prior experience working for and knowledge of government, particularly local/city government
  • Experience with issues surrounding energy use, transportation, utilities, and/or solid waste;
  • Assertive personality, persistence, and strong people skills critical for working with a variety of city departments and personalities;
  • Strong communication skills;
  • General understanding of the causes, science, and impacts of climate change;
  • Experience with Microsoft Excel and basic data manipulation skills;
  • Basic computer skills; and
  • Ability to work at least 10 hours per week

LOCATION:  The intern will work at USGBC-Missouri Gateway’s offices to assist local municipalities and other building owners with benchmarking their building energy use. Local travel to municipal meetings may be required. Working remotely is also possible.

BACKGROUND: USGBC-Missouri Gateway believes that Green Buildings Are Better – better for living, working, and learning. Nearly all buildings can benefit from implementing green building strategies and sustainability practices. More specifically, all buildings have to start somewhere in their green building journey. For many, that starting point is benchmarking – or tracking – energy and water use regularly.

In 2014, USGBC-Missouri Gateway worked with several regional partners to launch a regional energy benchmarking campaign, challenging buildings to regularly benchmark their energy use. Since then, nearly 90 entities have signed onto the voluntary campaign. We have also worked closely with the City of St. Louis on their benchmarking efforts, which include participation in the national City Energy Project and the American Cities Climate Challenge, and passing a Building Energy Awareness Ordinance. We continue to promote benchmarking through Better Buildings Through Benchmarking, our regional voluntary benchmarking campaign. We also support the implementation of the City’s benchmarking ordinance through stakeholder outreach and training. And we are active with OneSTL efforts, specifically the Energy & Emissions working group.

Food Systems Data Analysis Intern (A Red Circle) – Open

North St. Louis County’s economy can be traced to racist laws and public policies. A Red Circle’s vision is to restore North County to a safe, vibrant, sustainable, and economically viable community that remains diverse, and in doing so, help heal racial strife. Located in The Promise Zone, A Red Circle’s programming is designed to address five focus areas: employment, education, holistic living, policy, and the arts. 

The intern will work on a project to survey the 73 Food Systems Work Group members of the Missouri Council of Activity and Nutrition (MOCAN) and compile what food systems work they do, and where they do it.  Once the surveys are completed and the data is compiled, A Red Circle’s data team, along with a student intern, will create an interactive Eco-Map to be embedded onto MOCAN’s website for member use.  The Eco-Map will be used to identify organizations that align with its strategies and where there are gaps.  Furthermore, the Eco-Map will become a useful tool to reengage members of the Food Systems Work Group that have not been as active in recent years. The goal of the Eco-Map is to increase cohesion and collaboration between organizations, help MOCAN with recruitment efforts, identify potential future members and partners, and allow members to go into their profiles and update them as appropriate.  The plan is to pilot the project with the Food Systems Work Group first, then introduce the concept to the other workgroups, following a successful evaluation. 

Internship Activities

  • Design & disseminate survey in partnership with stakeholders
  • Analyze survey data & compile findings into the Eco-Map
  • Help coordinate other A Red Circle events and activities
  • Produce written material, track project progress effectively, communicate with other stakeholders

Experience and requirements:

  • Strong written and verbal skills, experience in public speaking
  • Passion for social and environmental justice
  • Experience in community organizing and community outreach preferred
  • Ability to prioritize and meet deadlines to effectively reach goals
  • Self-motivated, flexible, and independent worker
  • Means of personal transportation preferred (not required), personal phone and laptop preferred (not required)

Internship Details:

Site Supervisor:  Erica Williams, MBA, erica.williams@aredcircle.org

Site location:  A Red Circle’s office, 6439 Plymouth Ave

Internship Duration: Spring semester or summer semester, possibility to continue for multiple semesters for a successful intern.

Impact Interns receive a $4000 stipend for full-time summer internships. This stipend is disbursed monthly over a period of two months. Interns receive a $2000 stipend for part-time school year internships. This stipend is disbursed monthly over a period of four months.

Time Commitment
To ensure Impact Interns can engage meaningfully with their organizations, we require a minimum commitment of 260 hours for summer interns, and 130 hours per semester for academic year interns. This equates to roughly 33 hrs/week during the summer, and roughly 10 hrs/week during the academic year (excluding weeks in which the University has breaks). Your schedule can vary from week to week, but it is critically important to ensure you have adequate time to commit to this internship before applying. If you are taking extra courses, or already have a job or internship, this opportunity may not be right for you at this time.

Student Requirements
Any currently enrolled student at Washington University, undergraduate or graduate, may apply for this program. By applying, students commit to attending several events & professional development sessions with their intern cohort throughout the semester. Students who can commit to at least 2 consecutive semesters of an internship will be prioritized. Students may not intern after they graduate- all summer interns must be enrolled at WashU for fall semester. These internships take place OFF CAMPUS and require students to travel to an off-campus organization around St. Louis. 

How to Apply – Students
Prospective interns must send their resume and cover letter describing their interest and qualifications for the position via email to Carolyn Cosgrove Payne, community engagement coordinator for Environmental Studies, at ccosgrovepayne@wustl.edu. If you are applying to an internship listed below, please copy/paste the title of the internship you’re applying for into the subject line of your email. The application deadline for internships starting Spring 2020 is Sunday 12/1/2019. The deadline for internships starting Summer 2020 is Friday 1/31/2020. We may ask for additional application materials from you after you apply, such as references, a writing sample, or a class schedule.

Students are not limited to the internship positions posted below. You may also submit a general interest application to the Impact Internship program by sending an email with “Impact Interns- General Interest’ in the subject line to ccosgrovepayne@wustl.edu. This email should include your resume and a cover letter describing an environmental internship in the St. Louis region you’d like to pursue. Please include information on the internship site, who the supervisor would be, and a link to the description if available. The deadlines for this option are the same as above.

How to Host an Intern – Community Organizations
If your organization is interested in hosting a WashU intern for an environmental project, please reach out to Carolyn Cosgrove Payne at ccosgrovepayne@wustl.edu with your proposed internship description and desired timeline. Nonprofit and governmental organizations addressing environmental issues are permissible host sites for interns. Your organization does not need to have an environmental focus, so long as the intern is working on an environmental issue. We define environment broadly to include many themes around housing quality, public health, food apartheid, policy, and more- reach out and ask us even if you aren’t sure your task is environmental! Additionally, we recognize many for-profit organizations also engage with pressing environmental issues. We will consider student internships at for-profit organizations on a case-by-case basis, though for-profit entities may need to cover all or part of the cost of their interns.