Celebrating a Decade of Supporting Undergraduate Research
and Sustainability Driven Innovation
The Cal Energy Corps (CEC) program was launched in 2011 with the philosophy that energy and climate issues are part of a larger global crisis, and that international exchanges and partnerships are necessary to better understand the problems and collaborate on cutting-edge solutions. The program provided culturally immersive experiences that exposed students to political and scientific contexts beyond their education at Berkeley, and was especially innovative in that it invested in undergraduate researchers.
As the program has grown, it has also changed in certain ways. While international placements are still occasionally offered, the program has shifted toward primarily local and domestic placements in order to maintain fiscal sustainability. However, the spirit of the program remains the same and is committed to providing valuable opportunities for the best undergraduate minds at Berkeley to participate and engage in cutting-edge innovations in clean energy, sustainability and climate research and policy. We’re proud to partner with organizations near and far that are pioneering a sustainable future and to connect them with a new generation of passionate young researchers and innovators.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cal Energy Corps internship program. Over the course of ten years, 132 Berkeley students across a spectrum of majors have experienced the positive impact that Cal Energy Corps placements can bring, whether it’s learning new professional skills or finding their passion. Many students have gone on to careers in clean energy or climate research, and many cite Cal Energy Corps as a formative experience in their college careers. A number of CEC alums have gone on to host Cal Energy Corps student interns of their own, passing the torch on to the next generation of leaders in the field.
The Cal Energy Corps is an undergraduate summer internship program engaging top UC Berkeley undergraduate students in the design, development and delivery of sustainable energy and climate solutions. All placements are challenging, full-time assignments with leading organizations in the private and public sector, enabling students to gain professional experience working on the technical solutions of social issues in a cohesive learning environment.
During the internship, all participants are expected to keep a blog with regular updates on the progress of their work. Students go on to participate in the annual Cal Energy Corps Symposium in the fall semester to present their research projects to the university community and the public.
All current undergraduate students at UC Berkeley are eligible to apply for the Cal Energy Corps program. Students from all disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Some internship hosts may have specific major preferences, as indicated in their respective position descriptions.
Selected students are expected to commit to working a minimum of 8 weeks over the summer and will receive a weekly stipend of $680 for the duration of the internship. Students will have the opportunity to address energy and climate issues by conducting hands-on research in areas such as renewable energy, carbon policy, buildings efficiency, and sustainable design.
Watch the video below to hear past Cal Energy Corps students describing the research they performed during their program.
Internship placements are typically 8-10 weeks long over the summer (between mid-May to mid-August). However, some locations may have specific time frames that are determined by the host, and these will be reflected in their internship descriptions. If a specific time frame is not mentioned, students will be placed into contact with their respective hosts to determine internship dates upon acceptance to the program.
All placements are full-time; interns are expected to work 40 hours per week. During the internship participants must provide regular blog updates on the progress of their work and pictures of research activities to UC Berkeley. Following the internship, students participate in the Cal Energy Corps Symposium to share their experiences – this is mandatory.
The Cal Energy Corps program provides a weekly stipend of $680 for the duration of all internships. For overseas placements, students are expected to cover their own lodging and transportation costs for daily commute and airline tickets.
All participants are covered by UC Berkeley’s general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. In addition to this, students are covered by travel insurance. The University requires that all students have major medical insurance, and provides the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) to meet this requirement.
Students placed in internships overseas are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa from the nearest consulate or embassy. UC Berkeley International Office and the program partner can provide assistance to the student as needed, but it is ultimately the student's responsibility to ensure that they obtain the visa necessary to travel to their internship location.
Eligible applicants to the Cal Energy Corps are highly motivated UC Berkeley undergraduates in good academic standing, from a wide range of disciplines and majors. However, some hosts may have specific preferences for certain majors and internship durations. See individual placement descriptions for details.
No. We encourage anyone with a passion for energy and climate issues from any discipline to apply. Past participants have come from a wide range of academic backgrounds. However, some hosts may have specific preferences for certain majors. See individual placement descriptions for details.
We require a letter of recommendation from a UC Berkeley faculty member for every application. If you have a specific question about your situation, please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon agreement with respective program partners, the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) and Center for Information Technology in the Interests of Society (CITRIS) will notify selected students via email. This usually happens within a month of the applications deadline. Detailed timelines for each year are released in the spring.
Due to funding restrictions, placements offered for 2020 are limited, and students are now required to cover the cost of their own international airfare and lodging. We hope to be able to expand the program in the future, pending funding availability. If you would like to help support the program, please donate here.