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NCASC Early Career Development

Creating a better, more inclusive future depends on investing in the early-career professionals of today. NCASC internship and fellowship programs help undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers make their research applicable to pressing climate change challenges. NCASC supports diverse and inclusive programs that empower traditionally underrepresented groups.

Undergraduate Opportunities

Climate Adaptation Scientists of Tomorrow Program 

Sonoran desert scene, complete with prickly pear, saguaro, and cholla cactus species.

The Climate Adaptation Students of Tomorrow Program is a summer undergraduate research experience hosted by the CASC network. Over the course of two 10-week summers, cohorts of 12 students will work with CASC mentors on independent research projects related to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, plants, and landscapes. Program includes 10 weeks of room and board, stipend (minimum $3500/summer), and round-trip travel to the host university for both summers. Learn More>> 

Participating universities are:

  • Auburn University
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst

Open to rising sophomores or juniors enrolled full-time at an accredited academic institution (community college, college, or university). Participants must be in good academic standing (GPA 3.0 or higher). Students from populations historically underrepresented in the sciences are especially encouraged to apply. 

Applications open each Fall.


George Mason and Howard University Fish and Wildlife Adaptation Internships 

A photo of Spruce Nature Trail.

The George Mason University Department of Environmental Science and Policy and Howard University Department of Environmental Studies offer undergraduate internships in collaboration with the National CASC. Through these opportunities, students learn to develop policy-informing products to assist with managing the impacts of climate change on fish and/or wildlife species. The program provides students with the opportunity to acquire professional experience outside of academia, while simultaneously advancing their degree program. 

The George Mason program includes spring and fall semesters (10 hrs per week) and summer (40 hrs per week). The Howard program is spring (10 hrs per week) and summer (40 hrs per week). 

Questions? Contact Madeleine Rubenstein

Applications open each Fall. 


Graduate Opportunities

Science to Action Fellowship

Photograph of Megan Johnson leaning around a red brick wall

The Science to Action Fellowship is a one-year program that supports graduate students in developing policy-relevant research related to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, and landscapes. The program helps students “put their science into action”, pairing them with mentors in the USGS and the CASC network to help them find ways to apply their scientific research directly to natural resource decision making. For example, previous students have developed a structural decision making framework to help manage Navajo rangelands, conducted a vulnerability assessment to inform estuary management under climate change, and used climate modeling and stakeholder interviews to identify high-priority locations for freshwater fish conservation along the Red River. The program supports up to two students each year and comes with a $10,000 award to support the fellowship project. This program was jointly developed by the CASC network and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. Learn More>> 

Open to graduate students at CASC Consortium Institutions who are students for the entire fellowship year (special circumstances otherwise considered). 

Applications open each Fall.



Diverse Knowledge Systems (DKS) in Climate Adaptation Fellowship 

Flock of six birds viewed from above, flying over the frothy ocean surface where waves break

The Diverse Knowledge Systems (DKS) in Climate Adaptation Fellowship is a one-year graduate fellowship. The program funds students who have diverse knowledge systems (including their experiences, viewpoints, value systems, and cultural knowledge) that give them unique approaches to climate adaptation efforts. For example, this could include Indigenous students who can apply Traditional Knowledge to resource management, or students from historically Black or Hispanic neighborhoods who have specific insights into climate challenges faced by these communities. As a fellow, students work with a CASC mentor to develop a year-long project on climate change impacts and adaptation. The fellowship comes with $10,000 to support this project. This program was jointly developed by the CASC network and the Morgan State University Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory. Learn More>> 

Open to graduate students at CASC Consortium Institutions and minority-serving institutions. Applicants must be students for the entire fellowship year (special circumstances otherwise considered). Preference will be given to students who advance the CASC culture of improving diversity, inclusion, and empowerment for traditionally underrepresented communities. 




Postdoctoral Opportunities

Climate Adaptation Postdoctoral (CAP) Fellows Program

Wildfire in Mason Valley, Nevada

The Climate Adaptation Postdoctoral (CAP) Fellows Program is a one-of-a-kind research opportunity that brings together postdoctoral scholars from around the country to conduct independent and collaborative research on climate change impacts to fish, wildlife, and ecosystems. 

Each two-year fellowship cohort is centered around a common climate theme, such as wildfire or aquatic flows. Regional CASCs each host one postdoctoral fellow per cohort at an associated consortium university. Fellows work with mentors associated within their CASC to conduct regionally-relevant research related to the theme, focusing on the management challenges experienced by resource stewards in those areas. The fellows also work with each other to create a national synthesis product that explores wide-scale implications of the theme. The fellows come together periodically to develop their synthesis products and to undergo professional development training on topics such as translational ecology, mutual learning with stakeholders, iterative creative problem-solving, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Learn More>> 


And More! 

The National CASC also creates additional opportunities for students to engage with NCASC research projects and initiatives. These can be part- or full-time contract positions, where undergraduate and graduate students join a research project to collect data or perform analysis. They can also be full-time research positions where students or graduates lead an established research project. Many full-time positions are funded through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). The NCASC also accepts participants from federal internship and fellowship programs such as the Presidential Management Fellowship and the Virtual Student Federal Service internship.  

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