2015 Graduate Student Community Engagement Fellowships

The Berkeley Food Institute is launching its first annual competition for graduate students to partner with domestic sustainable food systems organizations. Fellowships provide opportunities for meaningful internship experiences that are of enduring value to host organizations.

Deadline: March 15, 2015, midnight PST. Awards to be announced by March 30.

Eligibility: Any matriculated graduate students in Masters or PhD programs at UC Berkeley are eligible to apply, with priority given to returning students.

Criteria for Selection:

  • Placements may be selected from a partial list of sustainable food systems organizations and internships listed on the BFI website, OR another organization of the student’s choosing.
  • Fellowships can support the following:
    • The candidate has secured an existing internship with a host organization, OR
    • The candidate has initiated and confirmed a new internship or project in collaboration with a host organization. We advise students to work with their advisors to ensure the position is a match for any academic requirements of their department.
  • Applicants must identify the organization they intend to work with, the issue(s) to be addressed, and set clear objectives and expected outcomes. The application must include a brief letter from the host organization stating their support for the candidate and the proposed project or internship.
  • Applications will be considered based on the strengths of their proposed projects and alignment with one or more of BFI’s thematic areas: Sustainable Agriculture and Ecosystems, Society and Culture, Economics and Business, Policy and Justice.
  • We recognize that some organizations doing valuable community work may be unable to provide reasonable stipends for interns and fellows. We will take into consideration internships and projects where funding is a barrier. If your position includes funding, and if you are applying for or have confirmed external funding, we ask that you describe these in the application.

Award Amount and Other Information:

  • 3 fellowships of $4000 will be awarded in 2015
  • Fellows complete the equivalent of at least 8 weeks of full time work, conducted between May 15 and December 15, 2015
  • Funds may be applied towards project-related travel, project costs, and room/board
  • Deliverables include: attendance at a fellowship orientation, mid-term check-in, completion of post-fellowship feedback, presentation at a winter semester report back, and a project summary, blog post, or other material for the BFI website.

Instructions and Timing: Deadline: March 15, 2015, midnight PST

  • Email submissions as pdf attachments to Foodinstitute@berkeley.edu, with “Graduate Student Fellowship for Community Engagement” in the subject line.
  • Materials: Cover letter, a 1-page statement of purpose, CV, the host organization’s letter of support, and the names and contact information of 2 references.
  • In your statement of purpose, please answer the following:
    • Why are you applying for funding?
    • What are the sustainable food systems issues your internship or project addresses?
    • Who are the target population(s) served by the organization?
    • How will you work with your host organization to further their mission and goals?
    • Why are you interested in this particular issue?
    • How will the fellowship build upon your academic and professional interests?


I’m a Master’s student working a on a summer internship project related to food systems. Is my required summer internship eligible for funding?
We encourage students from a range of disciplines to apply. Summer internship placements that are required for graduation, including from programs such as the Master of Public Health, Master of Public Policy, etc. may be eligible.

I can’t commit to a full-time project. Am I still eligible to work on a part-time basis?
Yes. Candidates may complete projects on full or part-time basis. The timeline should be clearly agreed upon with the partner organization and described in the application. Applicants are expected to complete at least 8 weeks of full-time work, to be completed by December 2015.

I’m looking for a project idea, where can I find ideas?
The BFI occasionally features organizations who have expressed interest in hosting interns and projects. Check out a partial sample of current opportunities on the BFI website. We encourage applicants to research into organizations and opportunities.

If I have questions about the application process, whom can I get in touch with?
Aileen Suzara, BFI’s GSR in Community Engagement, is available to answer questions about the application process. Please contact: asuzara [at] berkeley.edu with questions.

About the Berkeley Food Institute: The Berkeley Food Institute works to catalyze and support transformative changes in food systems, to promote diversity, justice, resilience, and health, from the local to the global. BFI envisions a world in which nutritious, affordable food is available for all and is produced sustainably and fairly – ensuring healthy people and a healthy planet.