Pandemic Message

COVID-19 Update: For updates on the current status of each opportunity, please contact the Advisor listed, or for courses, check the linked Class Roster page.


Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2021
One Time Opportunity

Cornell Affiliations:

Campus Sustainability Office


Opportunity Description

The Women Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship is a one-year program open to Cornell University graduate and undergraduate students designed to accelerate career and executive-leadership advancement in sustainability-related fields.  

The Women Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship is a program supported by the Cornell University Campus Sustainability Office designed to empower leaders to action with a three-part professional development experience. 

Fellows will engage in personal leadership development, mentoring & networking with acclaimed women leaders in sustainability, and be provided with a paid internship focused on designing and implementing a strategic project for climate and sustainability impact at Cornell University.  

The Fellowship is open to all cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers the experiences of women.  Applicants from any College or program enrolled as full-time students through the end of summer 2022 are encouraged to apply. 


Fellowship Details  

The WLS Fellowship is designed to accelerate candidates' leadership potential with three program components.  Fellows receive a financial compensation package for the completion of all components of the work and development outlined here.  

  • Internship and Sustainability Solutions Project 

  • The main component of the Fellowship is advanced project design and implementation in a real-world setting. Fellows will join the staff of the Campus Sustainability Office for a paid position totaling 10hrs/week during Fall and Spring semesters (August-May), and 20hrs/week during the summer (May-August). 

  • Fellows will work with a professional mentor to design and implement a real-world solution to a sustainability challenge at Cornell University in one of three focus areas:

    • Community Engagement
      Climate Leadership
      Sustainability Change Management
  • Candidates may express interest in one or more areas during application.
  • Women in Sustainability Networking  

  • Virtual coffee chats with a series of high-profile women in sustainability executive leadership from across New York State and international sustainability and climate programs.  Fellows will have the opportunity to engage in small groups and 1:1 time with leaders in career fields, creating valuable networking connections and an opportunity to be inspired by diverse career trajectories.

  • Personal Leadership Journey 

  • Fellows will gain a deep sense of strengths, passion, and vision through leadership development experiences designed to empower your path to executive leadership and meaningful change agency. Personal leadership activities will include reflection, outdoor or hands-on team building (as allowed by University policy regarding in-person activities during COVID19), and strengths-identification.

Total Fellowship Award:  Graduate Fellowship Award: $11,200*, Undergraduate Fellowship Award: $8,200*  

*Approximate total compensation for hours worked during Fellowship, paid as hourly rate 

Commitment and Dates 2021-2022

The Cornell Women’s Sustainability Fellowship represents a unique opportunity to accelerate applicants’ professional careers. As such, applicants must be able to commit to the full fellowship from August 2021 – August 2022 as outlined above, and additional professional development opportunities.   

  • The Fellowship will begin the first week of classes in August 2021 and end early August 2022. 

  • Fellows will join the staff of the Campus Sustainability Office for a paid internship position totaling 10hrs/week during Fall and Spring semesters (August-May), and 20hrs/week during the summer (May-August). 

  • Other program experiences entail an additional 4-6 hours/semester.  

  • Due to ongoing changes to University policy regarding in-person activities and work during the COVID19 pandemic, the Fellowship will likely include both in-person and remote opportunities.  The program will work with applicants to ensure a strong experience as opportunities and changes to University procedure continue to evolve.



Preference will be given to applicants who are entering or currently enrolled in a graduate-level program with some demonstrated sustainability experience.  However, applications from highly skilled undergraduate candidates with exceptional leadership potential, relevant experience, and background will also be considered.  

  • This Fellowship is for all cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers the experiences of women. 

  • Candidates are welcome and encouraged from all programs and Colleges. 

  • Candidates must be eligible to work in the United States and enrolled as full-time students at Cornell University for the 2021 - 2022 academic year and through summer 2022. 

  • Due to grant restrictions, students graduating in May 2022 are not eligible to apply. (You must be enrolled as a full time student through the end of August 2022.)

  • Applications from underrepresented communities including LGBTQ+, black, indigenous, and persons of color and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged. 

Application Requirements 


The deadline for application to the 2021-2022 Fellowship is Friday May 28th, 2021. 
Please submit your resume and letter of recommendation in the same email if possible.  

  • Women Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship Applicant Form  

  • The application includes demographic questions and 2 short essays to help us best identify your potential and interest for the Sustainable Solution Projects. Note that this form replaces a traditional cover letter. 

  • Application Form 

  • Resume or CV with subject “Women Leaders in Sustainability Applicant” 

    Email to with letter of recommendation 

    1 Letter of Recommendation

    Supporting candidate’s leadership potential and interest in career opportunities related to sustainable development and climate leadership. Email to with resume or CV.


Questions about this program?  Email

The Women Leaders in Sustainability Fellowship is made possible through the generosity of the President’s Council of Cornell Women Frank H.T. Rhodes Leadership Fund.