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.

We are now accepting applications for PAID Fall 2020 Impact Internships. Internships will all be remote until COVID conditions change. Please read each description carefully for information on time commitment and application instructions. The priority deadline for Fall 2020 internships is 11:59pm on Sunday August 2nd, 2020. Contact Carolyn at ccosgrovepayne@wustl.edu with any questions.

Racial Equity and Energy Internship (Idleburg Consultants) – Open

IDLEBURG CONSULTANTS produces and provides resources, trainings, webinars, and research to build the capacity of leaders and organizations, and advance the impact of the field. Expertise includes law and policy frameworks necessary to create change, racial equity problem-solving, goal-setting, strategic planning and organizational development. Justin Idleburg (principal) strives to be a catalyst to bring together individuals, organizations, and communities to build strength and cohesion around racial equity, and sustainable and innovative infrastructure for affordable energy efficiency.

Justin has accepted a contract with the Missouri Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalition to conduct racial equity training and consulting through the end of 2020. EEFA is a national coalition of energy and housing advocates working across 12 states to advance energy efficiency solutions for affordable multifamily housing. As part of its focus on energy justice in low-income housing, EEFA has made racial equity a top concern. Justin will be working with the MO EEFA coalition to plan and hold several workshops to examine how to integrate a racial equity perspective into the coalition’s statewide work. There is potential for hosting a larger racial equity workshop for the Low-Income Workgroup of the Missouri Energy Efficiency Advisory Collaborative (MEEAC), a statewide group of state regulators, utilities, consumer groups, efficiency providers, and advocates.

The Racial Equity and Energy Intern will report directly to Justin Idleburg, and will work with other members of the MO EEFA coalition in planning racial equity workshops. This work will include:
• Communication with MO EEFA coalition members
• Research and preparation of presentation materials
• Meeting logistics & thorough notetaking during meetings
• Engagement of advocacy groups and coalitions to foster initiatives around racial equity commitments, forging organizational alignment and cohesion.

Applicants should have fluency in racial equity issues, implicit bias, dialogues around race and public policy, and similar areas. In addition, the ideal applicant will have and interest or familiarity in energy policy, energy efficiency, environmental justice, and utility regulation. Applicants should be well-versed in the “Environmental Racism in St. Louis” report prepared by the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at Washington University’s School of Law, and should strive to incorporate or leverage some of the report’s conclusions as part of the internship.

Applicants can also review the report “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide,” produced by Health Equity Works in the Brown School at Washington University.

Primary Projects:

• Assist consultant in the planning and hosting of racial equity workshops for the Missouri EEFA coalition;

• Assist consultant in the event that there is an opportunity to host a similar workshop for the Low-Income Workgroup for the statewide MEEAC group;

• Produce documents summarizing the outcomes and deliverables of workshops

Basic Qualifications: Intern should have excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, strong oral and written communication skills, proficiency with computers (fluency with Microsoft Word and Excel, fluency with google docs and spreadsheets, and proficiency with video chat software). This internship is expected to be remote, with regular communications by phone and video.

Compensation: This position may involve a payment of $1,000 upon completion of the term, in addition to the compensation provided by Washington University.

Hours: 10-20 hours/week (negotiable), between August and December, 2020. Internship may be extended into the summer or beyond, and could develop into a full-time paid position.

To Apply: Please apply by sending a cover letter, resume, short writing sample and class schedule to ccosgrovepayne@wustl.edu in .pdf format, and include “Racial Equity & Energy Internship” in the subject line. In the cover letter, please highlight your interests, most relevant experience, and where you learned of this internship. Priority deadline for applications is 11:59pm on Sunday August 2nd. Please note we encourage early applications.

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

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) – Open

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:  Remote

Benchmarking Intern (USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter) – Closed

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) – Closed

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. Internships will all be remote until COVID conditions change, but please note that if/when restrictions are lifted, these internships will resume taking 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 above, please copy/paste the title of the internship you’re applying for into the subject line of your email. We may ask for additional application materials from you after you apply, such as references, a writing sample, or a class schedule. The priority deadline for internships starting Fall 2020 is 11:59pm on Sunday August 2nd.

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.