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Building Ecological Skillsets for Transitions to Sustainability in Agriculture and Food Systems (BEST)
Paid Undergraduate Experiential Education Fellowships

  • We pay you to learn ($16/hr) - you do not need to be a Prescott College student
  • Develop skills in systems thinking, social networking, and policy brief preparation 
  • Propose actions that transform food systems for organizations you care about
  • Spend your 2023 Summer on a paid internship (earn up to $11,500)

.Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. For Summer 2023 placements, click here.

For questions, email, and learn more, below!


As part of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Research and Extension Experiential Learning Fellowships for Undergraduates program (grant no. 2021-68018-34620) we are looking for six undergraduates interested in the fields of food systems, environmental and interdisciplinary studies and who want to apply systems thinking to: understand ecological services delivery; natural resources management in agricultural landscapes; and policy analysis and planning.).

Many jobs of the future can help transform agricultural systems to ones based on ecosystem services, soil health and regenerative rural economies. Students with skillsets in ecological services delivery and policy analysis can assist communities to make transitions to more ecological food and farming systems. The BEST Experiential Education fellows are embedded with organizations in their own communities or with researchers, building fellows’ networks. BEST students will develop skills in systems thinking, social networking, and policy brief preparation with their mentors resulting in specific opportunities to propose actions that can transform food systems.

Click here to learn more about fellowship eligibility and other details about placements (FAQs).

Click here
to watch a webinar about the fellowship opportunity.

*To be eligible for the fellowship, one needs to be registered at a degree-granting institution at least half-time when they receive the BEST fellowship. Training begins May 15th with internships to follow.

BEST Themes

Ecosystem Services Delivery

Agrobiodiversity, pollination, natural forms or pest and disease control

There is considerable evidence that enhancing agrobiodiversity in farming systems can be a pillar of transformation, giving farmers and communities greater options to deal with crop failure, pests and diseases, declining soil fertility and sustaining dietary diversity (Bioversity International 2017).

Ecologically-Based Solutions in Landscapes
Managing productive landscapes to build resilience and minimize non-point pollution of waterways

A major problem facing agriculture around the world are the negative externalities from nutrients in run-off, particularly nitrates. Diverse forested and agricultural landscapes can provide water filtering  and disease control services in certain instances.

Creating “Employment Niches” Based on Diversity and Ecosystem Services: New frontiers in managing nutrient recycling

There is a growing recognition that diversified farming systems can provide strong and resilient localized agricultural and food system employment, as a counterweight to rural economic declines.

Learn More

Work With Experts

Students have the opportunity to work with different Prescott College Faculty Mentors and Community Partners.

Faculty Mentors

Robin Currey, Ph.D.

Ed Boyer, Ph.D.

Lorayne Meltzer, M.S.

Wendy Sue Harper, Ph.D.

Eleanor Tison, M.A.

Have Questions?

Robin Currey, Ph.D.
Call: 231-409-6429

Listen To
Our New Podcast Series - The Capstone

Access the Archive of our "Food Systems Friday" Webinar Series
Learn More