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CEP Scholarships Support Students to Chart Their Own Course

Of the distinctive features that sets Bard’s sustainability masters programs apart from others, perhaps the most significant is the extended, high-level, professional internships that students are required to pursue. And for the last two years, generous scholarship support has made these internships even more impactful, by providing students with financial need the chance to pursue their dream opportunity irrespective of the level of pay provided by their internships. 

Bard offers three programs requiring, uniquely, a four to six-month professional internship in the second year of study: Masters of Science degrees in Environmental Policy and Climate Science and Policy, and a Masters of Education in Environmental Education. Graduates of the first two programs are now out in the world working to “change the rules,” instituting good laws and regulations to drive sustainable change. Alums from the final program are “changing minds,” working with young people to help them fall in love with the world around them, and learn the fundamental lessons of ecological literacy. The internship is a crucial stepping stone to these impactful careers. 

To date, six students have received up to $7,000 in internship grant support, allowing them to go after their dream internship, without worrying about the compensation. In many cases, the internships also led directly into full-time jobs—and the students are all working in impactful roles. 


Here are their stories

Elena Fischer, MS ‘24 interned at the Vienna Program Office of the UN Bard_BCEP_20221021_KR_0058-1Environment Programme, which houses the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention. After interning, she continued her employment there as a contractor, finishing her capstone remotely. Her internship work supported the Secretariat, and centered on issues of biodiversity and education for sustainable development. Her capstone explored the use of “fuzzy cognitive mapping” as a tool for collecting local stakeholder input into policy making around biodiversity in the Carpathian Mountains.

Madison Hodge, MS ‘24 also closely tied her capstone research to her internship at the Bonn office of ICLEI, 1714952615983Local Governments for Sustainability. There, her work with the Local Government and Municipal Authority Constituency to the UNFCCC took her to COP28 in Dubai, where she organized a session on the results of her initiative to encourage youth in the U.S. to facilitate climate progress check ins, called "stocktakes," with their municipal governments. Her capstone work also focuses on those same "stocktakes," but at the subnational level in fourteen different countries. Madison has recently taken a position with ICLEI USA, where she'll get to continue that work.

Willa Arsenault, MS ‘25 is now employed full time by theBard_BCEP_20221021_KR_0097-1 Nantucket Land & Water Council, where she also completed her Bard CEP internship. In fact, her colleagues at the Council were so impressed by her work that she began her new position as the Council's Environmental Program Coordinator before her internship even ended. Her Bard CEP capstone focused on how coastal municipalities can manage the use of lawn fertilizers in order to protect their waters, using Nantucket as a case study. 

Patricia Hanna-1

Patricia Hanna, MS ‘23 completed her internship in the NY State Assembly for Member Didi Barrett, which led her to her current role as Legislative Director for Barrett. Patricia’s internship focused on Energy and Environment issues, and her work in that role is what earned her the senior role on Barrett’s team. She wrote her thesis on environmental justice considerations in solar development in New York. In Albany, she is now helping to “change the rules” at the state policy level.


Jae Zimmerman, MEd ‘23 interned as a Youth Environmental Advocates Program Developer at Mbis Bin Semilla para la Siembra in Oaxaca Mexico. There, they helped develop an innovative program to engage young people in environmental and civic education, which was also the subject of their capstone project. They are now teaching fourth grade in Lewiston, ME.

Bard_BCEP_20211008_KR_0104-1Vy Nguyen, MS ‘23 pursued an internship with UN ESCAP, where she supported preparation for the World Water Conference, developed policy briefs and other knowledge products related to air and water pollution issues. For her capstone, she pivoted to a focus on policies for accelerating EV adoption. She is now working as a Risk Advisory Associate in Sustainability & Climate for the international consulting firm Deloitte, in Hanoi.


Support is key to making impact

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, these students have each had an amazing springboard to launch their careers in environmental policy and education,” said Bard GPS Director Dr. Eban Goodstein. “Having had this opportunity to show what they are capable of, I am not surprised at the kind of jobs that they are finding.” If you are interested in supporting Bard CEP students, please click here to make a gift today!

Goodstein added that the mission of Bard GPS is to help students make a difference in the world at scale, soon. GPS does that by providing “the best possible mix of academic training, real world experience and career development”—in these cases, supported by internship funding as well.


Advance your sustainability career path at Bard

Climate change, gender inequity, species extinction, extreme poverty, water pollution, systemic racism—these are the forces that are shaping this century.

If you've read this far, you may want to spend your life working to change humanity's direction and build a sustainable future. Consider taking the next step with us at Bard's Graduate Programs in Sustainability. We bring together a committed community of students, faculty, and staff—all working to lead the change the planet needs.




About the Author

Katie Boyle

Katie Boyle

Katie Boyle is the Enrollment and Marketing Director for the Bard MBA in Sustainability program and Bard Center for Environmental Policy. In this role, she oversees the marketing and brand management for The Impact Report podcast. She also manages recruiting, admissions, and enrollment for both programs as well marketing and advertising campaigns.