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21st Century Environmental Health Scholars (21EH Scholars) is a year-round 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.

We encourage applications from students who are low-income, first-generation, or have recently transferred to UNC-Chapel via C-STEP STEM Pathways. Applicants 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)

Learn more about the field of environmental health.

How does the program work?

Student in labInterested students apply by the deadline and the applications are reviewed by a selection committee. Selected applicants will be matched with an environmental health lab at UNC-Chapel Hill. Every effort will be made to match students based on their research interests and mentorship needs. Beginning in early May 2024, 21EH Scholars will participate in a Lab and Research Skills Boot Camp. During the summer, Scholars will work 35-40 hours/week for 10 weeks. In the fall semester, Scholars work up to 10 hours/week with their faculty mentor over 10 weeks.

This is a paid internship. Housing and park-and-ride permits are available to 21EH Scholars on a case-by-case basis.

Download program flyer

Who can participate?

Students with wave tank in labApplicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Strong interest in environmental health sciences and commitment to completing multi-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


Apply Now!

Program Contact

Megan Hoert Hughes,

STEM Pathways Program Manager, Center for Public Engagement with Science

(919) 966-2463


Made Possible by:

Funding Source

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


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