The Program

The Program

The Yale Conservation Scholars - Early Leadership Initiative (YCS-ELI) is a summer program for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds historically underrepresented in environmental institutionsEach scholar spends the summer in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and possibly overseas, participating in an exciting environmental internship.


The program begins with orientation. Scholars attend a virtual meeting in April to discuss program logistics. The two-day orientation will occur in May; it may be in person or virtual, depending on the pandemic. Scholars will be notified of the date and type of orientation when they are offered a spot in the program.


  • Competitive stipend
  • Option to extend for a second summer
  • Explore the state of Connecticut
  • Free career consultation and professional development help
  • Form lasting friendships and connections with students across the country 
  • Chance to travel and explore a unique ecosystem
  • Access and partial funding to the groundbreaking New Horizons in Conservation Conference  

Why spend your summer in Connecticut?

  1. The food. New Haven Apizza is legendary; Louie’s Lunch is the birthplace of the modern hamburger, and lobster rolls are a New England staple. (sourcesource)
  2. America’s oldest operating amusement park, Lake Compounce, is in Bristol, CT. (source)
  3. New Haven boasts many different artistic venues, from the Yale Repertory Theater, The Shubert Theater, The Yale University Art Gallery,  The Symphony Orchestra at Woolsey Hall, or even the best dive venue in New England, Toad’s Place. (source)
  4. Many historical locations are within a day’s drive, including Plymouth Rock, Boston, New York City, Salem, and the Rhode Island Cliff Walk. (source)
  5. Located on Long Island Sound, Connecticut is surrounded by beaches, nature trails, boating, and birding.  (source)

What are the 2024 program dates? 

2024 Program Dates

Two virtual orientation days in April dates to be determined

Tuesday, May 28–  Friday, July 26, 2024

2024 Application Dates

Application Opens November 2023

Application Closes January 15, 2024, 11:59 pm Eastern Time*