Each year, we employ and support dozens of students to conduct cutting-edge environmental policy research, support community organizations, and further their professional development.

Work with us

We regularly hire student assistants and graduate student researchers. If you are a current UCLA student interested in joining the Luskin Center for Innovation, please visit our team page and contact the team member(s) most aligned with your interests about employment openings.

Receive a grant or fellowship

If you are prospective or current UCLA Luskin student interested in applying to one of our funding programs, please see the following opportunities described in detail below:

  • Research Fellowships
  • Field Fellowships for Environmental Justice
  • Graduate Research Grants

Research Fellowships

We offer two types of research fellowships for prospective graduate students:

  1. The Research Fellowship for Environmental Policy Innovation is offered to prospective students with a demonstrated interest in environmental planning and policy analysis.
  2. The Research Fellowship for Environmental Justice is offered to prospective students motivated to address environmental racism and other inequities.

Eligibility and application process

Open to prospective students applying to a graduate degree program at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Prospective students apply as part of the departments’ standard degree application. In the application, make sure to indicate interest in receiving a fellowship from the Luskin Center for Innovation.

Encouraged to apply are students of color, first-generation students, or others interested in conducting research or applied work in environmental sustainability, including but not limited to the field of environmental justice and equity.

Award amount and expectations

Research Fellows receive a paid graduate student research (GSR) position at the Luskin Center for Innovation during the first year of their graduate degree program. The fellowship value is approximately $6,500 for two quarters, depending on exact employment placement and project length. If funding permits, we may also cover tuition reimbursement. Students who receive the Research Fellowship for Environmental Justice may decide to conduct their research with a community-based organization instead of at UCLA.

Field Fellowship for Environmental Justice

This fellowship program continues and expands the center’s commitment to supporting first-generation Bruins, students of color, and other emerging environmental leaders.

The fellowships also support environmental justice organizations that host the students as interns. Through action-oriented projects, fellows learn from and collaborate with communities of color to realize healthier, more sustainable, and livable environments.

Abhilasha Bhola

Abhilasha is a fellow with the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice, where she will focus on passing clean air regulation at the California Air Resources Board and conducting research on the warehousing industry in the Inland Empire. Abhilasha is pursuing a master in public policy, specializing in economic development and environmental policy.

Evelin Estrada

As a fellow with the Better World Group, Evelin will support equity-centered clean transportation campaigns. She brings experience in campaigning, policy analysis and geospatial information science to the role. Evelin is a master of public policy student concentrating in environmental and social policy.

Juan Flores

Juan will work with Better World Group, conducting research on zero-emission transportation policies to advance environmental equity campaigns. Juan is an undergraduate student with a public affairs major and public health minor. He is passionate about bridging these two fields to create long-term solutions for systemic issues to build healthy communities.

Lillian Liang

Lillian is a fellow with the Greenlining Institute, where she will collaborate with partners in San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys to build a peer-to-peer climate justice learning group. Her work will support community visions for climate resilience and equity. As an urban planning master’s student, Lillian is interested in the intersection of climate adaptation with environmental and social justice, and aims to build capacity in frontline communities of color to face climate change.

Austin Mendoza

As a fellow with the Sierra Club, Austin (he/him) will support building decarbonization efforts in Los Angeles. He will use an environmental justice lens while researching policies, creating communications campaigns, and participating in stakeholder meetings. Austin is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy, and he hopes to use his experiences in policy research and communications to advance environmental justice work in his career.

Leslie Velasquez

Leslie will work with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice to support their air quality work in the Inland Empire. Leslie is a graduate student in the master of urban planning program with a background in policy research and environmental justice organizing.

Krystle Yu

As a fellow with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Krystle will be support  the organization’s intersectional work in community stability. She will be researching potential environmental gentrification linked to the proposed LA River Master Plan, and exploring commercial tenancy protections and resources. Krystle is a graduate student in the master of urban planning program.

Janet Zamudio

Janet will work with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), conducting research on zero-emission transportation policies to advance environmental justice campaigns. Janet grew up in Southeast Los Angeles, where she first felt environmental injustice first-hand. Janet has a long-standing connection to CBE through her previous work as a youth environmental justice member, facilitator and legal intern. She is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in public affairs and geography.

Stephanie Andrade

While working with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Stephanie Andrade joined a campaign to avoid housing displacement while realizing community-led visions for safe and healthy community spaces along the L.A. River. Stephanie, who grew up in Boyle Heights, graduated with a master’s degree in urban planning.

Sachi Cooper

Sachi Cooper interned with Pacoima Beautiful, creating an interactive mapping tool to advance environmental health and justice campaigns in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. Sachi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geography.

Deja McCauley

As a fellow with Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA, Deja McCauley researched bioremediation and brownfields in South Los Angeles. Her work contributed to a toolkit for residents, supporting community-led efforts to transform contaminated soil into healthy green spaces. Deja is pursuing a master’s degree in urban and regional planning.

Linda Mitchell

Linda Mitchell worked with the Better World Group, conducting research on zero-emission transportation policies to advance environmental equity campaigns in collaboration with diverse coalitions. She also continued the focus on clean transportation as a fellow with Communities for a Better Environment. Linda graduated with a bachelor’s degree, majoring in public affairs with a minor in environmental systems and society.

Sarah Perez

While interning with Pacoima Beautiful, Sarah engaged with community stakeholders on environmental justice campaigns. She also used her policy analysis skills to conduct research on the Whiteman Airport and associated hazards such as aviation accidents, emissions, and noise pollution. Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree, majoring in public affairs and minoring in global studies.

Lana Zimmerman

Lana worked with the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians in their Environmental Protection Division. In her position, she conducted policy research to support their sustainable land stewardship and land use planning. Lana grew up in the San Fernando Valley, the territorial land of the Fernandeño Tataviam, and is a graduate student in the Master of Public Policy program.

Aeden Keffelew

A public policy master student, Aeden interned with Kounkuey Design Initiative to use her filmmaking skills to document narratives from BIPOC Angelenos about the Pacoima Wash as an environmental and social amenity. Aeden also worked with us and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute to reduce the environmental footprint of film production.

Monika Shankar

As an urban and regional planning masters student, Monika assessed the progress of Clean Up Green Up in Los Angeles, one of the first environmental justice land use policies secured by grassroots groups. Monika’s work will inform actions by the LA Mayor Garcetti’s Office, her project client, to implement and potentially expand this landmark initiative.

Tayler Ward

A dual degree graduate student in public health and urban and regional planning, Tayler worked with the Luskin Center for Innovation and other civic collaborators to organize a symposium on how environmental policies and investments in California have impacted Black communities and what improvements could be made.

Eligibility

Open to current UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs graduate and undergraduate students.

Application timeline

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are now closed. The application period is typically during the winter quarter.

Types of host organizations

Fellows collaborate with nonprofit organizations committed to environmental equity and justice. We invite several partners to participate, and applicants can select/rank which organization(s) and project(s) are of interest. Applicants can also identify an environmental organization of their own that they would like to collaborate with. The internship may be virtual or in-person, based on health guidelines and organizational needs.

Host organizations during the 2021-22 year include: Better World Group/Clean Transportation Coalition; Communities for a Better Environment; East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice; Pacoima Beautiful; and Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA.

Mentors

Fellows may be matched with a mentor. Mentors provide advice on the fellowship project and career guidance.

Award amount and expectations

  • $3,000 stipend for undergraduate students who work at least 220 hours with their client
  • $6,500 stipend for graduate students who meet their department’s internship hour requirements

Selection criteria

As part of the application, students provide a well-written statement that explains why they want to collaborate with a specific organization and how doing so would advance their career goals. The review committee will evaluate candidates based on demonstrated passion and leadership potential for environmental justice or sustainability.

Additional information

The fellowship is designed to meet the field/internship/work requirements of the academic departments in the Luskin School of Public Affairs. It could be used as part of a Luskin graduate student’s capstone project.

Graduate Research Grants

The Graduate Research Grant program provides an opportunity for Luskin School Graduate students to receive support for their theses, Applied Policy Projects (APP’s), Applied Planning Research Projects (APRP’s), or other capstone projects specific to their department. The objective of the grant program is to support student projects that otherwise would not be possible without some financial or professional support.

Eligibility

Open to current UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs graduate and undergraduate students.

Application timeline

Application deadline: December 9, 2022, at 8:00 PM PST.

Notifications: mid-January 2023

Award amount and expectations

The award program offers:

  • Funding for direct costs associated with the student-led research project.
  • Funding to 501(c)3-6 community-based organizations involved in student-led community-driven research. This funding could be used to compensate staff for their time to assist or advise in the research and compensate community members who participate in the research as survey respondents, interviewees, or other sources of information.
  • Layout and design support.
  • Assistance with publicity and distribution of your project findings.

Awarded support is typically up to $3,000. The research centers may consider awards of up to $5,000 on a case-by-case basis when funding is included for a
community-based organization that is essential to novel research.

2020-2021 awardees include:

Other Opportunities and Resources

In addition to directly providing opportunities for students, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation seeks to connect Bruins with external opportunities that can further their interest in environmental sustainability. The internships, research programs, and organizations below can provide students with opportunities to preserve and restore California’s environment.