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Community Science Fellowship

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Who are Community Science Fellows?

Thriving Earth Exchange Community Science Fellows are current and future leaders in the community science movement. Community Science is the process by which communities and scientists do science together to advance one or more community priorities.  “Doing science” includes defining questions, designing protocols, collecting and analyzing data, and using scientific knowledge in decision-making and planning.

Community Science Fellows are committed volunteers who are eager to facilitate and lead collaborative, co-developed community science projects that produce on-the-ground impact in local communities. They can have any background, experience level, or location. To be successful, a Fellow must have a general knowledge of Earth science, be organized and proactive, value community science, and be committed to engaging with their community and scientific partners for the duration of the project. Fellows have a strong focus on community priorities; the ability to listen, empathize, remain flexible, communicate; and have a respect for all knowledge and ways of knowing. The skills Community Science Fellows hone prepare them to manage diverse teams, work across disciplinary boundaries, and connect science to action.


Watch a Q&A with current Community Science Fellows to learn more!


Meet our current Fellows! 

Meet our October 2023 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our June 2023 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our March 2023 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our October 2022 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our July 2022 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our April 2022 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our February 2022 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our October 2021 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our July 2021 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our April 2021 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our February 2021 NEON Fellowship Cohort

Meet our January 2021 Fellowship Cohort

Meet our September 2021 Science Policy and Engagement Cohort

Meet the August 2020 Fellowship Cohort

Meet the December 2019 Fellowship Cohort

Meet the September 2019 Fellowship Cohort


What do Fellows do?

Each Fellow is matched with a local community and is responsible for guiding a community science project from idea to impact. This includes getting to know the community, identifying ways science can advance community goals, finding and recruiting partner scientists to assemble a project team, managing and supporting the project, and helping share the team’s story and project impact. Fellows are trained and receive ongoing support from AGU Thriving Earth Exchange staff, our partners, and a peer group of Fellows.

Examples of past projects include Assessing Flood Risks for Community-Led Action in Gulfport, Mississippi, Updating a Climate Vulnerability Assessment in Santa Cruz, California, and Mapping Heat Vulnerability and Community Health in the Bronx, New York, among many others!

A typical project can last anywhere from 6-18 months from start to finish. Fellows are expected to commit to at least 3-4 hours per week in the first months. Most of that time will be spent conversing with the community to understand their priorities, designing a project that leverages Earth and space science to meet those priorities, finding and interviewing scientists to work on that project, and connecting the scientist(s) and community lead(s) to form a project team. After that, the time commitment will decrease to 3-4 hours per month to schedule and facilitate team meetings, check in with team members, and troubleshoot issues as they arise.


What does engagement with Thriving Earth Exchange look like for Fellows?

Fellowship cohorts are launched quarterly via a 2-day online workshop supported by Thriving Earth Exchange and our partners. During this hands-on workshop, Fellows engage in skill-building and leadership exercises (e.g. active listening, project design, cultural humility, strategic communication, facilitation and more) and learn how to successfully launch and manage community science projects.

Prior to the workshop we provide Fellows:

  • An invitation to join our Slack workspace, the “Community Science Fellow Hub”
  • Access to a self-paced online course. We ask that this be completed prior to the live workshop. Estimated time is 2-3 hours.
  • Time to get to know others in their cohort through an optional Meet & Greet (scheduled for 1 hour the week of or prior to the workshop.)

Following the workshop, fellows are supported via:

  • Thriving Earth Exchange staff mentorship and support
  • Peer-to-peer mentorship and sharing and support within their cohort, and across the program
  • Monthly cohort calls and open hours
  • Online training and information sessions from Thriving Earth partners
  • Access to the Thriving Earth Exchange Scientist Network database
  • A handbook of project-related templates and resources
  • And more


What does Thriving Earth Exchange look for in Community Science Fellows?

Enthusiasm for engaging with AGU Thriving Earth Exchange, including a willingness and ability to be reflective about the role and the program; and enthusiasm for the Fellow role, including a commitment to and experience in (or strong intent to pursue) community science. Examples of this might be: 

  • experience working with diverse stakeholders and projects (this may include low-income/disadvantaged communities and those that have not had an opportunity to engage with science) 
  • a passion for elevating community-led action and local priorities  
  • a strong desire to support community-led engagement with a variety of audiences, including policy makers and the media  
  • evidence of consistent and long-term volunteer work or community engagement  

Humility, an ability to listen, and strong communication skills. Examples of this might be: 

  • an aptitude for science communication  
  • desire to speak out about the value of connecting community priorities with science and the importance of science in local communities, and to help others do the same 
  • experience or willingness to engage diverse individuals, organizations, and communities in communication and ongoing conversations 
  • leadership experience in multidisciplinary/culturally sensitive environments 


  • undergraduate degree or a minimum of 3 years’ experience working in a science-related or informal STEM-learning field  
  • project management and facilitation skills  
  • at any career stage  
  • a formal science background is not required but some interest/familiarity is necessary 


I don’t live in the United States, can I still be a Community Science Fellow?

Yes! This is a volunteer role that Fellows engage in remotely. We currently work with communities in North America, the Caribbean, and South America that are English-speaking. So, fellows should be prepared to work in the time zone that is most comfortable for the local community.

How can I become a Community Science Fellow?

To become a Community Science Fellow, see the cohort launch schedule below and fill out the short application form that follows. 


Cohort Launch Location Deadline
May 15-16, 2024 Online April 4, 2024
September 18-19, 2024 Online August 8, 2024


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