Applications are being accepted until May 28 for the Increasing Diversity in Environmental Careers (IDEC) program, a partnership between the MPCA, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources. The successful applicants will form the third cohort for this innovative program.
The program, which launched in summer 2019, creates pathways to natural resources and environmental careers for underrepresented students — racial or ethnic minorities, women, or individuals with disabilities — who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering, or math.
“The most beneficial thing about the IDEC program is the safe space it provides to explore opportunities free of judgment, while also making friends,” said Tasha Kurtz, IDEC fellow and St. Cloud State University student. “It's a way to meet and learn from a diverse group of people who are experiencing the same excitement and stress about entering the professional world.”
The program consists of three parts
- Fellowship: Students have a supportive community, a yearly academic scholarship, and professional development. Fellows work with the program manager, who coordinates resources and helps them navigate challenges during the journey. Fellows attend in-person cohort sessions every other month during the academic school year to stay connected to their peers and participate in professional development.
- Mentorship: Fellows are connected with professionals in the field who can share their experiences and support them. The mentorship aims to enhance college success, encourage personal and professional development, and promote career advancement by pairing fellows with employees at one of the participating state agencies.
- Internship: From May to August, fellows to learn more about environmental and natural resources career paths through paid, on-the-job experiences. The internship includes first-year summer rotations and second and third-year summer agency internships.
After completing a first-year summer rotational internship, fellows can intern at the DNR, the MPCA or BWSR for their second and third summers.
Instructions on how to apply and register for information sessions can be found on the Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa website.
Fifteen to 18 applicants will be selected for the third cohort and will start the program at the beginning of the fall 2021 academic term. Applicants must be a
- a full-time undergraduate student that is a:
- high school senior who will be a college freshman in fall 2021 at a two- or four-year institution (not through PSEO)
- first year college student at a two-year college in fall 2021
- college sophomore or junior as of fall 2021.
2. An ethnic or racial minority, woman, or individual with a disability (link is external).
(definition of disability defined by MN Statute 363A.03 Subd 12.)
3. Pursuing a STEM/Natural Resources degree. (See all accepted STEM majors.)
4. Interested in working in a natural resources or environmental career after graduation.
5. Accepted to or enrolled in a two- or four-year, full-time program at an accredited Minnesota state,
community, private or tribal college or university.
6. Willing to commit to the full IDEC program. (See program timeline.)
7. Authorized to work in the United States.
The program is funded by the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund.