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21EH Scholars is a 12-month program that provides environmental health science research internships for undergraduate students at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and UNC-Chapel Hill. Working as part of a lab team, 21EH Scholars will learn about cutting-edge research topics and develop research skills. They also will develop their science communication skills and prepare to apply to graduate school.

The program is designed to support students who are underrepresented in STEM disciplines, including women and underrepresented minority groups–Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives. C-STEP STEM Pathways students who have recently transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill are especially encouraged to apply. Students must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents.

21EH Scholars is an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional partnership between:

  • NCCU’s College of Health & Sciences (Department of Biological & Biomedical Sciences)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health (Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment (Center for Public Engagement with Science)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine (the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology and the Curriculum in Toxicology and Environmental Medicine)

To learn more about the field of environmental health:

How does the program work?

Interested students must apply. Selected applicants will have an opportunity to rank their first, second, and third choice environmental health lab at UNC-Chapel Hill. Every effort will be made to match students based on their research interests and mentorship needs. Internships will begin in January 2021. During the spring and fall semesters, 21EH Scholars will work approximately 10 hours/week with their faculty mentor over 14 weeks. During the summer, Scholars will work 35 hours/week for 10 weeks.

This is a paid internship. Housing is not provided. Park-and-ride permits are available to 21EH Scholars on a case-by-case basis.

Please note: The current global pandemic, and the potential impact on campus and lab closures due to evolving health recommendations, may impact students’ ability to be on campus in person during some or all of 2021. Selected 21EH Scholars will be matched with a mentor and lab that can accommodate both an in-person and a remote internship, and program staff will work with students to provide as much flexibility as possible.

Who can participate?

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Strong interest in environmental health sciences and commitment to completing 12-month internship
  • Completed basic coursework in Biology and Chemistry (Some labs may have additional course requirements.)
  • NCCU or UNC-CH student, including C-STEP STEM Pathways students
  • Sophomore, junior, or senior status during internship [Must be enrolled as a student (i.e. taking classes) during spring and fall semester of the internship year.]
  • Students must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents


Applications are due by December 20, 2020. Students will be notified in early-January.

Click here to apply!


Megan Hughes, MEM
STEM Diversity Program Manager
Center for Public Engagement with Science
Institute for the Environment, UNC-Chapel Hill

Antonio Baines, PhD
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University
Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine
Member, Curriculum in Toxicology and Environmental Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine

This program is led by multi-PIs Dr. Antonio Baines, Dr. Kathleen Gray, Research Associate Professor in the UNC Institute for the Environment, and Dr. Ilona Jaspers, Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

21EH Scholars is funded with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) R25 Program (Grant # 1R25ES031870-01).