Baruch’s Climate Scholars Program Expands to Four CUNY Schools
August 15, 2022
Students at four colleges in The City University of New York (CUNY) system are now able to participate in a new fellowship, which builds upon Baruch College’s signature Climate Scholars Program.
CUNY has provided $142,000 in funding, much of which will help provide a total of ten students and two coordinators with stipends. The Climate Scholars will commit 20 hours a week for six months and participate in twice weekly didactic sessions, peer-peer mentorship opportunities, research labs, and internships focused on climate change resiliency and the transition to renewable energy.
Students attending Baruch College, Bronx Community College, Brooklyn College, and Hunter College are eligible for the fellowship. The Climate Scholars will meet with 2,500 of Baruch’s first year students and 60 STEP Academy middle school and high school student to discuss local climate change impacts and future careers in climate change resiliency.
Goal: Future Leadership Roles
Spearheading this initiative is Mindy Engle-Friedman, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. She is joined by Professor Neal Phillip of Bronx Community College, Brett Branco of Brooklyn College, and Professor William Solecki of Hunter College. The program will prepare students for careers in green energy, climate change mitigation, and climate resilience efforts.
“Today’s students are New York’s future leaders,” says Professor Engle-Friedman. “This program will prepare our students to take leadership roles in green energy, and they will help protect our city and state from the impacts of climate change.”
The Baruch Climate Scholars program, initially funded by the CUNY Office of Research and by the CUNY Office of Workforce Development, has already sent students to internships, jobs, and graduate studies in fields related to climate change policy.
For example, Julie Margolin (’23), a Macaulay-Baruch honors student, interned at InsideClimate News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning publication with one of the largest environment-dedicated newsrooms in the country. Julie is currently an intern at Bloomberg’s BNEF focusing on carbon markets across the U.S.
Another Climate Scholar, Chelsea Wepy (’21), conducted research on climate-induced migration and geographic information systems and interned at the Environmental Defense Fund and the United Nations Association. Chelsea was a co-Coordinator of the Baruch Climate Scholars program in 2021-2022 and will serve as educator and coordinator of an environmental sustainability program in the Galapagos.
Engle-Friedman is a member of the Baruch Climate Action Collaborative, which includes faculty from Weissman, Marxe, and Zicklin. The faculty group has presented research, hosted speakers, written grants, and collaborated on interdisciplinary courses.
Expanding the Program
The expanded initiative will place students in green energy research labs for three months and external internships for three months. During the program, they will meet with renewable energy and climate change experts who focus on offshore wind, solar and geothermal energy, transition to green energy and its impact on the economy, society, habitats, and ecosystems.
Students will present their research at CUNY research symposiums such as Baruch’s Creative Inquiry Day and professional conferences.
According to Engle-Friedman, students who apply for the fellowship can major in any subject. The interdisciplinary nature of the program offers students opportunities to gain new perspectives on tackling climate change mitigation and preparation for climate resiliency.
“We look forward to welcoming students from across the CUNY majors, including arts and sciences, business, and public affairs,” adds Engle-Friedman.
“CUNY students will be at the forefront of climate change mitigation and the green energy transition in New York City. We need to educate CUNY students with a wide variety of interests, strengths, and skills, and this program will give them the education and experience they need to make a difference,” she added.