RAY Fellowship FAQ

Eligibility FAQ

I am not a US Citizen, am I eligible for the RAY Fellowship?

  • Our eligibility requirement is that applicants must have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship. RAY Fellowship Applicants are not required to be US citizens and we have had several non-citizens become RAY Fellows. Applicants must be able to work in the US, including completing an I-9 form to verify work eligibility. This could be through a visa (eg: OPT), DACA, permanent residency, or any other agreements allowing work authorization that will allow a RAY applicant to work in the US for a US-based organization. RAY Host Organizations will not, at this time, sponsor visas for international applicants.

I am currently in a graduate program that would finish during the RAY Fellowship, since I don’t yet have the degree, am I eligible to apply?

  • RAY Fellowship positions are opportunities for individuals who have not yet gone to graduate school. At this time we are unable to consider folks who will obtain their Masters during the fellowship. RAY Fellowships are full-time positions and are not designed for individuals simultaneously pursuing a degree in a full-time program. If you have further questions, please contact us at ray@elpnet.org.

What does “Come from a racial / ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and clean energy” mean? I am white/Caucasian, am I eligible for the RAY Fellowship? I am mixed race, am I eligible for the RAY Fellowship?

  • Anyone is welcome to apply regardless of identity, but please keep in mind that the RAY Fellowship works specifically to uplift early career professionals who come from a historically excluded group in the clean energy and conservation fields. People who identify under the imperfect term “BIPOC”, that is: Black, Indigenous (or of aboriginal descent), and/or as a person of color, any intersection therein and are from historically excluded backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • According to the 2014 Green 2.0 report, “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies,” people of color are drastically underrepresented in environmental fields. Green 2.0 defines people of color as “non-European Americans” including but not limited to specific racial or ethnic groups such as Black/African/African Americans, Latinx/e (Chicanos, etc.), Asians/Asian American (including East, South, Southeast, Central, and West Asia), Native Hawaiian, Alaskan Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.

I graduated in 2021, can I apply to the RAY Fellowship?

  • We are excited to announce that we now invite applicants who are within THREE (3) years of having received their undergraduate degree, meaning that applicants for the 2024-2026 cycle must have graduated on or after May 2021. Historically we have required a maximum of ONE (1) year post graduation at the time of applying. This decision will widen the applicant pool, allow applicants to apply more than once if they are not selected for the previous cohort, and help us meet the needs of a wider community with a variety of life experiences. 

I graduated in May 2020 can I still apply for the RAY Fellowship even though it’s over 3 years from July 2024?

  • Due to our program structure, only applicants who have graduated between Spring 2021- Summer 2024 and have not had a full-time job in the environmental field are eligible to apply.

I’ve held a full-time 40 hour/week internship at an environmental organization over the summer before, am I still eligible to apply for the RAY Fellowship? I did a fellowship/internship/Americorps the year before, am I still eligible to apply for the RAY Fellowship?

  • We don’t count internships or fellowship programs like Americorps to be full-time, salaried positions, and we would welcome your RAY Fellowship application. 

What other Fellowships or job boards can you recommend if we are not eligible for the RAY Fellowship?

RAY Application FAQ

The essay prompt states "Please tell us about an experience from your own life that has influenced who you are and shaped your development." Should I draw from an experience related to my interest in the environmental field or any experience in my life?

  • We welcome applicants to write about whatever experience is most compelling. Please refer to the section on our apply page under the essay, visioning, and short answer prompts where we elaborate on “What does the RAY Program hope to learn from these prompts? Feel free to allow the following to guide your thinking...”

How much experience should I have to apply?

  • We welcome individuals with passion, interest, and dedication to these fields to apply even if you don’t have a lot of specific experience in the conservation or clean energy spheres. This fellowship is supportive of learning about the field, we don’t expect or require you to have an extensive environmental background.

Do RAY Program staff have time for a quick 1:1 phone or video chat to learn more about the RAY Fellowship?

  • We are excited by your interest and look forward to receiving your application. We are unable to do 1:1 conversations with interested RAY applicants at this time due to our schedules during recruitment season. However, we invite you to attend our informational webinar series that we host with RAY Fellows. Current RAY Fellows will sometimes offer to chat with applicants following these webinars, but it depends on their interest and availability. 

Do RAY Program staff give feedback on applications?

  • Due to the volume of applications we receive, we are unable to give feedback at this time through email or a phone call. 

Can I email my materials to you?

  • No, materials must be submitted through rayfellowship.org/apply. Any materials submitted via email or other external websites will not be reviewed. Please contact us at ray@elpnet.org if you are having issues uploading materials through our application system. 

How competitive is the RAY Fellowship?

  • The RAY Fellowship is very competitive and we receive hundreds of excellent applications each year for a small pool of fellowship positions. Last year (2022 selection cycle) we were able to place 19 RAY Fellow applicants in positions out of 150 completed applications. 

RAY Program FAQ

Does the RAY Fellowship Program provide housing?

  • The RAY Fellowship does not provide housing. Each fellow is responsible for their own living arrangements. Our current and previous fellows may be able to share tips on securing housing for specific areas. 

If I am selected as a RAY Fellow, is it possible to start the fellowship position in the Winter instead of the Fall?

  • No, we require all RAY Fellows start in Mid-Summer so they can attend the orientation retreat as a full cohort in the Fall. 

Does the RAY Fellowship Program support internships?

  • We do not keep a log of internships with our Hosting Organizations nor run internships through the RAY Fellowship Program. We recommend checking the individual sites of the organizations you are most interested in for internships they may be hosting.

Are there any COVID-19 specific policies to keep in mind when applying for the RAY Fellowship?

  • All RAY Fellows, staff, and facilitators are required to adhere to ELP's COVID-19 Vaccination Policy as we return to our in-person retreats with the Fellows. All retreat participants (RAY Fellows, staff, and facilitators) are required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status (FDA or WHO emergency approved). Those who are unable to receive the vaccine must obtain an approved medical or religious exception from the requirement. Anyone with an approved exception must wear an approved face-covering throughout the in-person event and must provide proof of a negative PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours prior to any in-person event or setting in lieu of being vaccinated. Please see the full policy here.