Scholars FAQ

 

Eligibility and Requirements

Who can Apply to be a Scholar? 

Applicants should be currently enrolled in their second year of college at an accredited four-year college or university.

As stated in our mission, we are interested in training a new generation of diverse and inclusive sustainability scientists. To that end, for U.S. applicants we are looking for scholars who are historically underrepresented in STEM fields, including but not limited to students who are Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latinx, female, first generation college students.

GSS also welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender students; students who have experienced, and worked to overcome, educational or economic disadvantage and/or have personal or family circumstances that may complicate their continued progress in research careers.

No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status. 

What Type of Qualities Make a Strong Candidate For this Program?

This program is geared for undergraduates who have completed two years of college course work and who can demonstrate through their course work and experience that they are self-directed, mature, and that they have a deep commitment to working in the field of sustainability science and an understanding of how issues of equity and justice interest must be addressed in sustainability solutions. Additionally, strong candidates must be able to travel and live in close quarters with the rest of the cohort, thus interpersonal skills are strongly appreciated. Please send an email to gsscholarinfo@gmail.com for questions.

Will Dreamers or DACA Students be Considered?

Because this program travels abroad and may require visas to visit certain countries, all applicants must have legal documentation such as a US passport to be eligible. 

Will Community College Students be Considered?

Yes, if the applicant can show official acceptance and plan to attend an accredited four-year college the following year, we will accept your application. Please mention your plans in your application. For additional information please send an email to gsscholarinfo@gmail.com for questions.

Can International Students Apply to the Program?

Not at this time. In the future we may have opportunities available for international students.

Can Graduate Students Apply to the Program?

Unfortunately, the program is limited to undergraduate students working on their first degree. We are however, pleased to announce a new opportunity for some graduates students or professionals who have recently received a Bachelors degree. Please see the GSS Early Career Fellows program to see if you are eligible for this opportunity. 

Do You Need to Have Field (Outdoor) Experience or Be a Sustainability Science Major to Be Accepted?

No, you don’t need to have outdoor experience to participate. You must be able to travel to remote settings however, and be open to new experiences. This program is intended for students who are seriously interested in sustainability science and equitable solutions. We recognize that the disciplines applied in sustainability can be broad, thus you don’t have to be majored in sustainability to apply.

I’m Not a Person of Color. Can I Still Apply?

Yes! We hope to draw a truly cross-cultural body of students to this program, meaning everyone is welcome to apply. All applicants regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, ability or other demographics should demonstrate awareness of diversity issues, a commitment to inclusion, and make sure this comes through on your application.

Do I Have to Participate in All Three Years of the Program?

Yes. This program deliberately builds on each year of programing and experience and our stipends reflect this. Students need to commit to three years of programing to get the full benefit of the professional internships, professional networks, and peer mentor groups. GSS asks if you can’t commit to three years of programing that you let others take advantage of this amazing opportunity. 

Can Juniors and Seniors apply to the Program?

This program is intended for students early in their academic careers so we can only accept students who are currently in their second year (sophomores) of undergraduate studies and/or will still be in college during the first two summers of programing. Additionally all applicants must be working on their first Bachelor’s degree. You may contact gsscholarinfo@gmail.com with any questions you may have in this regard.

Is There a Minimum GPA Required to Participate in the Program?

No, there is no minimum GPA to be considered for the program. However, students must be in good academic standing to participate. We are looking for students who are motivated to dive into research, work with world renowned scientists, engage in real world issues in sustainability, and who are capable of keeping in contact during the academic year and progressing towards graduate studies. 

 

GSS Application Process

How Do I Apply?

Apply using this link and setting up an account. The application is online only, and consists of six short essays on sustainability, recent unofficial transcripts, and two letters of recommendation from a professor or community member/supervisor. Once logged in, applicants can finish their applications. We advise applicants to look at the essay questions, compose their essays offline and cut and paste their final essays into the online application. **please give the folks who are writing you letters of reference at least 2 weeks’ notice and make sure to remind them three days in advance of the deadline**

How Do I Know If My Application Has Been Received?

Once your application has been submitted and received, our online system will send you an email receipt. 

Who Do I Contact If I Am Having Technical Issues With the Application?

If you have trouble with any part of the application, you can email gsscholarinfo@gmail.com.

Is There Going to Be an Interview Process?

Yes, virtual interviews (e.g., Skype or Google hangouts) will be included among the final steps of the application process for a select number of applicants.

Should I Wait Until I Get My Autumn Quarter/Semester Transcripts to Submit My Application?

No, please submit your first year’s transcripts (Fall and Spring/Summer 2018) transcripts. We do not need an official transcript. Your school should be able to provide you with an unofficial transcript.

How Do My References Submit Their Recommendation Letters?

Your references have to submit the signed PDF letter in the institution letterhead through our system. Your references will receive an e-mail when you have added their names in the reference tab in the application site.  You need to push the button SEND REQUEST NOW, so they receive the e-mail with instructions to write the letter and upload it in the system.

We would be grateful if references could specifically address the following questions in the letter:

  • How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant

  • As the GSS program involves intensive travel and a residential academic setting (where students live and learn together), which can be stressful and personally challenging, please comment on the student’s maturity, emotional stability, tolerance, and capacities to exercise good judgment and to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances.

  • As the GSS program involves learning environments that can be quite different than what students are traditionally accustomed to (for example, extensive group work, more self-guided learning, and a unique residential academic setting), comment on the applicant's academic abilities—specifically, the applicant’s intellectual curiosity and maturity, quality of work, motivation, classroom engagement, and capacity to contribute to collective learning.

  • Why do you believe that the applicant is well-suited to participate in the Global Sustainability Scholars program, which challenges students to explore environmentally-sustainable solutions to diverse and complex problems associated with urban food systems, energy, and water?

  • The academic and personal growth of each cohort of scholars will depend on the individuals within the cohort. We recognize each student has an individual perspective of the world and how it relates to sustainability, which is comprised of their experiences, interests and how they show-up for opportunities.  Please describe the unique perspective that this applicant will bring to the group. 

When Can I Expect to Hear Back in Regards to My Application Status or If I Have Been Accepted?

Applications will be reviewed over the month following the application submission. If you have been chosen to be on the short list, we will contact you 2-3 weeks AFTER reviewing the applications to schedule an interview. Final acceptance letters will be sent with in 2 weeks of the interview process.  

When Do I Have to Confirm My Participation in the Program?

To secure your space in the program, we ask that you confirm your participation in the program, as soon as possible. We will have a deadline for confirmation approx. 2 weeks after being invited to participate. Deadline is second week of January 2019.

Can I Reapply If I Didn’t Get Into the Program?

In general you cannot re-apply to the program, however if you have had extenuating circumstances, please contact us, explaining the situation and why you think your college career stage still fits our program. You may also consider applying to the GSS Early Career Fellows program after you graduate. 

 

General GSS Program Questions

What Do I Need to Bring With me?

We will contact everyone prior to the program to make sure that you have all of the paperwork needed to travel and to give each a packing list. There will be no special or technical gear needed, however a cell phone, and passport are required.

Who Can I talk to For More Information?

Please contact gsscholar@gmail.org
If accepted into the program we will also host several informational sessions with the group to prepare you for your adventures.

I Understand That the Program Pays a Stipend, but What Are the Costs That the Students Are Directly Responsible For?

The Global Sustainability Scholars program for undergraduates pays for one round-trip ticket from your home to the program and all travel to and from program sites, lodging, and a food stipend during the first 6-week summer experience. The second and third summer internships will have a very similar setup – Travel to the site, stipend for food, stipend for participation and depending on the location of where they will be interning, lodging will be completely paid for.  Students will be responsible for luggage fees at the airport as well as their own incidentals including toiletries, snacks, souvenirs, and other personal purchases.

When Will the Program Start and End?

For the first summer, the program will start the last week of June through the first week of August 2019. The dates for the second and third summer still need to be confirmed.

 

Community Partner, Facility, Staff, and References

How Do I Advertise This Program to My Students or Friends?

We recommend you direct any students who might be interested in and be a good fit for the program to our website. You can also email us at gsscholar@gmail.com to receive an electronic version or printed copies of our flyer. Also, consider offering to serve as a reference for your students who wish to apply.

What Do You Look for From a Strong Application?

This program is geared for students early in their college careers yet solidly underway toward their degrees in sustainability related fields. As stated in our mission, we are interested in training a new generation of diverse and inclusive sustainability scientists. To that end, in the US cohort, we are looking for scholars who are historically underrepresented in STEM fields, including but not limited to students who are Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino, female, first generation college students. GSS also welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students; students who have experienced, and worked to overcome, educational or economic disadvantage and/or have personal or family circumstances that may complicate their continued progress in research careers.

We are only accepting second year students (sophomores) into the program. Scholars do not have to be environmental science, or even science, majors, but should demonstrate a commitment to the environment and to creating sustainability solutions and issues of equity, and be curious, creative and enthusiastic – incipient change-makers. They should demonstrate in their essay responses a willingness and ability to discuss and investigate global issues in sustainability with people whose identities, opinions, and values differ from their own. Strong applicants will be able to demonstrate through personal experience, or global examples of how attention to equity impacts sustainability solutions. 

I Do Not Teach Environmental Science or Sustainability Science. Should I Still Advertise This Program to My Students?

Yes! We recognize that Sustainability Science is a broad umbrella, and not all schools have majors that fit directly under this. Scholars who have an interest and demonstrated commitment to the environment and sustainability should apply and demonstrate in their applications how they see this program furthering their career in the field. Scholars will be working with Sustainability research teams, thus must be excited to conduct research.  

Could My Students Earn Credit for This Program?

The University of Colorado Boulder does not currently offer credit, but students are encouraged to work with their faculty or advisors at their home institution to determine if they could earn credit for participating in GSS. Our staff is happy to support making these experiences more meaningful, so please inquire by emailing gsscholarinfo@gmail.org  as this has been done before.

Are There Ways for Faculty to Get Involved In With Global Sustainability Scholars?

Yes, there are a few ways to get involved with GSS.  Probably the most help is your efforts in advertising the program broadly, writing recommendation letters for your students, who have applied, and reviewing applications for the program. There are of course other ways you can get involved, such as becoming a member of our advisory board. Please contact us gsscholar@gmail.com for more information.

I’m With a NGO, Government Agency or Other Environmental/Sustainability-Oriented Organization. Are There Ways for Me to Get Involved?

Yes! We do encourage partnerships and have worked with other organizations in setting up internships. Please contact us gsscholar@gmail.com to start the conversation. 

I’m Serving as a Reference for an Applicant. What Is the Deadline for Me to Submit My Letter of Recommendation?

Letters must be received by the application deadline (no later than 15 November 2018).

What Should I Include in My Letter of Recommendation?

Content of letters will vary based on the relationship between the writer and the applicant, but strong letters include specific examples of how the applicant is a good fit for the program (ex. a strong commitment to sustainability/international collaborations and inclusive practices) and how they would benefit from participating (ex. academic or professional development). 

This program is geared for undergraduates who can demonstrate through their course work and experience that they are self-directed, mature, and that they have a deep commitment to working in the field of sustainability science and an understanding of how issues of equity and justice interest must be addressed in sustainability solutions. Additionally, strong candidates must be able to travel and live in close quarters with the rest of the cohort, thus interpersonal skills are strongly appreciated. Please send an email to gsscholarinfo@gmail.com for questions.

How Do I Submit My Letter of Recommendation?

We will email you directions of how to login and submit your letter. Letters can be uploaded as a file from your computer.

 

Travel Abroad

I’ve Never Traveled Abroad, What Do I Need to Know and How Can I Best Prepare?

You are not alone. Most of the students will be traveling abroad for their first time. We will hold online question and answer sessions for students.  The most important issue is to make sure that your passport and immunizations are up to date. In addition, most schools have a travel abroad office.  We encourage all accepted scholars to contact this office. They often have free travel insurance and recourse for you. 

My Parents Are Excited, but Also a Little Nervous, What Can I Do to Help Them Feel Better About This Opportunity?

We will host an online question and answer session for parents. They can also call us or email us. 
 

Support our students! All donations directly support Global Sustainability Scholars and Fellows. Successful global sustainability solutions are inclusive, involving a diversity of stakeholders and incorporating multiple values. Our program does just that, brings in the voices and perspectives across borders and cultures, trains them in doing trans-disciplinary research and builds their international professional network.