Clean Energy Leaders

A group of people in hard hats standing in a field of wildflowers with large solar panels behind them.

UMN Clean Energy Leaders: Addressing Climate Change for a Sustainable Future

A transition to clean energy is one important way we can address climate change. Thanks to a generous donor, the Institute has launched a new leadership program to support students in getting the skills and experience they need to be the energy leaders we all need. This full-calendar-year program offers:

  • Up to $3,000 in stipends; up to $2,500 to support an unpaid summer internship, and up to $500 to support a fall student leadership project.
  • Engaging experiences like field trips and leadership/professional development training.
  • Exciting interdisciplinary courses.
  • Connections to a network that will help you identify the right career path for your interests and skills.
  • A community of dedicated peers!
  • Applications for the 2024 cohort have closed.


Program Details

Selected leaders will need to commit to:

  • Spring ‘24 Coursework
    • PA 4790: Climate Action and Adaptation Planning Thursdays, 4 – 6:45 pm (3 credits): Can we use policy to achieve a carbon neutral future? This course will investigate climate change policy from a variety of perspectives, emphasizing economic logic, ethical principles, and institutional feasibility. We will focus on energy transition, particularly in MN.
    • Cohort Orientation Friday, December 1st, 2023 12:00 – 2:00 pm (save the date!), lunch included.
  • Summer ‘24 Internship
    • Sustainability Corps provides opportunities to work with community partners and UMN researchers. Or you may apply for climate or energy related internships outside of the Sustainability Corps positions. Opportunities will be shared, and application assistance will be provided.
      • Commit at least to a 140 hour (~14 hours a week for 10 weeks) internship or research assistantship from June 5 through August 11.
      • Must take SUST 4096 1-credit summer internship course
    • Leadership and Professional Development Training meetings every Wednesday from 1 – 2 pm throughout the summer program. (Please hold these dates on your calendar!)
    • Up to $2500 stipends are available to students matched with unpaid internships.
  • Fall ‘24 Cohort Program and Leadership Projects
    • Build relationships with like-minded peers and network with professionals working on energy transition and climate action.
    • Cohort meetings Every other Friday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. A commitment of approximately 10 hours throughout the semester.
    • Up to $500 stipends available for projects, initiatives, or other program aligned activities.

Graduating in May?


Eligibility & Preference

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be registered full-time in an undergraduate degree program on  the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Must be registered for classes for Fall 2024 to participate in the summer internship program.
  • Must maintain the University’s satisfactory academic progress toward completion of an undergraduate degree.
  • Must comply with all rules and regulations set forth by the University of Minnesota Student Conduct Code
  • Must demonstrate an interest in and/or passion for learning the skills and knowledge needed to solve pressing energy transition challenges in Minnesota and globally, and develop the capacity to lead others in taking climate action.

Preference will be given to students who:

  • Have a significant need for financial support.
    • Domestic students should have a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Minnesota Dream Act application on file at the University of Minnesota. (You can check with One Stop to confirm your status.) You can learn more about financial aid eligibility criteria here.
    • International students who have financial need are also eligible but will be asked to explain their financial need in the essay questions.
  • Are first generation college students.
  • Have not already received other IonE scholarships or stipends.

Questions? Please contact Aaron Hanson, Energy Program Specialist,

Community and Campus Leaders: Are you working on energy transition? Interested in mentoring a graduating senior or hosting an intern or research assistant? Please email