Earthwatch: Student Fellowship Program - Ignite


Spend two weeks next summer participating on a fully-funded, scientific research expedition alongside scientists and other students in a natural landscape. Apply for the opportunity of a lifetime!


The Ignite LA Student Science Awards is an innovative program that aims to stimulate curiosity and interest in science and technology through participation in a fully-funded, scientific research expedition during the summer.

While on the expedition, you and your peers will conduct a variety of field and laboratory research activities, collecting data on some of the world’s most pressing environmental and sustainability issues.

In addition, you will have time to attend informal lectures on important environmental issues, bond with other students or the research staff during free time or group meals, and explore the beautiful natural landscape that can be called home for the duration of the expedition. Ignite expedition locations have recently included:

  • Schoodic Education and Research Center in Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas
  • Sagehen Creek Research Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Nevada
  • The Fox Hill Salt Marsh and The Marsh Meadows Salt Marsh along the Rhode Island coastline
  • Southwestern Research Station, Arizona
  • Crow Canyon Archeological Center, Colorado


  1. Starting June 1, 2017 – Begin your application by clicking the Apply Now button below.
  2. By December 1, 2017 – Submit your completed application. Keep in mind the application requires two recommendations: one from a science teacher and another from either another teacher (any subject) or an adult mentor.
  3. March 2018 – Receive notification from Earthwatch on whether or not your application was successful. The Ignite program awards 50+ students from Los Angeles each year.
  4. Summer 2018 – Participate on a scientific field research expedition for 10-14 days during your summer vacation.



Our generous donors want to support high school students who are creatively talented to immerse them in real science, as it is actively practiced. Thanks to them, the Ignite fellowship covers all costs associated with participation on the expedition, including roundtrip travel, meals and lodging, research activities and laboratory fees, and recreational day activities.

In return, Earthwatch asks each student to submit a short report upon returning home from their expedition, describing the expedition highlights, impact, and challenges.


In return for your fellowship, Earthwatch asks that you help support its mission and ensure its renewed funding by completing a Volunteer Evaluation at the end of the expedition. We also ask you to provide a Field Report within 30 days after the end of the expedition, including an essay detailing your field experience and a thank-you letter to your funder. We also appreciate you forwarding us any copies or links to any media coverage you may have received from your participation.


Check out our Earthwatch Facebook page to connect with past student fellows, share stories, see the latest expedition photos and find out when an Earthwatch representative is coming to your school!

Like us on Facebook to get updates about our upcoming expeditions or application deadlines and to get your questions answered by Past Team Members and Earthwatch staff.

Follow us at “Earthwatch” on Instagram and find us on Twitter at to see updates from the field and to learn more about our expeditions!

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The Durfee Foundation has been supporting student fellowships for more than 25 years. It is a family foundation that seeks to reward individual initiative and leadership and build community in unexpected ways.

Click here to receive access to the online application.

Check out our Ignite Flyer!

Ignite Flyer

Ignite is seeking applications from Los Angeles County high school students who are:

  • Sophomores and Juniors in high school, 16 or older by June 2018,
  • Creative thinkers and motivated learners,
  • Well-rounded students,
  • Available for 10-14 days in the summer of 2018,
  • Excited to work with a team of students and scientists on a research project in the United States.

Two weeks that can change your life

Click on the picture to read a past Ignite fellow’s story

Celebrating 25 years of students doing science in the summer

Click on the picture to hear testimony of the founder of the Ignite Program

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents (English and Spanish)