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. However, applicants must be able to work in the US, including completing an I-9 form to verify work eligibility. This could be through a work permit, visa, 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 either of the RAY Program managers at guilu@elpnet.org or charlie@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?

  • If you identify as white/Caucasian, we appreciate your interest in our fellowship and your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Anyone is welcome to apply regardless of identity, but please keep in mind that the RAY Fellowship works specifically to promote racial/ethnic diversity within the field among people who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or people of Color. Mixed race folks are welcome and 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 (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 2019, can I apply to the RAY Fellowship?

  • Due to our program structure, only applicants who have graduated in 2020-2021 and have not had a full-time job in the environmental field are eligible to apply.

I graduated in March 2020 can I still apply for the RAY Fellowship even though it’s a little over a year from July 2021?

  • Yes! Anyone who graduated or will graduate between Jan 2020-July 2021 is eligible to apply for the RAY Fellowship. 

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. 

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...”

I was wondering if the Letter of Support should be from someone who has supervised me in a job/internship capacity, or if it should be from a professor who can speak to my academic abilities?

  • We encourage applicants to seek Letters of Support from anyone who can best speak to why you’d be an ideal candidate broadly. Please see our program overview page to understand who an ideal candidate may be.

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.

Will I be notified when my Letter of Support (LOS) is submitted?

  • No, at this time we are unable to notify you. However if your otherwise-complete application is missing an LOS and it would affect your consideration for a position, we will notify you and give you an opportunity to notify your recommender to have them re-send your LOS.

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. 

How long do I have to wait for the link to complete the rest of my application?

  • It should be sent immediately. If you do not see it in your inbox, check your spam folder. If you do not receive an email from us in 24 hours please email guilu@elpnet.org or charlie@elpnet.org and one of us will find your application link. 

Can I email my materials to you?

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 (2020 selection cycle) we had a 9% acceptance rate with 11 Fellowship positions out of 123 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. 

Could if I am selected as a RAY Fellow, is it possible to start the fellowship position the Fall instead of the Summer?

  • No, we require all RAY Fellows start between July 15th and mid-August so they can attend the orientation retreat as a full cohort at the end of August. 

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.