Public Lab Research note

Community Organizing Fellowship is open!

by stevie | November 30, 2021 19:49 30 Nov 19:49 | #28316 | #28316

Community Organizing Fellowship is open with Public Lab!!

Community Organizing Fellows are the project leaders behind Public Lab's Fellowship Teams. Read more about the role of the Community Organizing Fellow here.

We are excited to share that the Community Organizing Fellowship Roles with Public Lab are open and accept rolling admission year around! We will be reviewing applications for Community Fellows to start early 2022. Get your applications and/or nominations in today to be considered!

In getting started, Community Organizing Fellows work with Public Lab staff to define the goals of the project, and identify the roles of fellows who will join the team to support in achieving these goals. The roles on Fellowship Teams can include scientists, technologists, legal advisors, and documenters. In addition, the Fellowship Teams have access to the support of the larger network of collaborators on Public Lab’s open source platforms. Fellowship Team projects run from 8-9 months and are launched up to thee times per year. Through Fellowship Teams, Public Lab supports the work of community science projects with an emphasis on long-term visioning to advance the Community Organizer's environmental health priorities.

To expand upon the Community Organizing Fellowship position, we have published on the selection criteria we seek to achieve with these roles.

Selection criteria for Community Organizing Fellows

Public Lab Community Organizing Fellows are selected up to three times a year, while applications/nominations remain open all year around and are welcome at any time. There are several steps in this process so that we can offer customized support in line with the unique situations being faced by local leaders. These steps are designed to support those who have never applied for a fellowship before.

When Public Lab staff begin the review process for an upcoming open role, applications/nominations are scored, and those who meet the minimum criteria are offered Project Development Sessions* with someone from the Public Lab staff. These are optional, though highly encouraged as applications are rescored after being workshopped, and scores nearly always improve. After applications are rescored, the applicant/nominee with the highest scoring materials is offered the Community Organizing Fellowship role.

Successful candidates/nominees for the Community Organizing Fellowship role must meet several key criteria:

  • They must live in the community where they are aiming to run their project.
  • They must seek to work on an environmental concern that is urgent and compelling.
  • They must be eager to have their project materials regularly shared, and to collaborate with their project team, and the broader Public Lab community. (Those with safety concerns about sharing project data with the public will not be excluded from this fellowship, but participants are expected to work with the Public Lab team on addressing these concerns.)
  • They have the ability to commit the time and energy to the project for the 9-10 month project cycle. Note: the first one to two months are with the Public Lab team in project design, defining the supporting fellow roles, outreach, and selection for supporting fellows.
Higher points are awarded in key areas such as:

Community need:

  • If the project is based in an Environmental Justice Community. This includes communities that have both extreme environmental and socioeconomic stressors.
  • If the risk or negative effects to human health is imminent or already existing.

Organizer positionality:

  • If the applicant identifies from any groups who are historically excluded from STEAM leadership.
  • If the applicant has roots within the community where the project is proposed and is committed to staying there.
  • The applicant is eager to share about their project, and learn from and collaborate with others.

Public Lab’s reach potential:

  • The project supports a topic area that could use more attention within the Public Lab community.
  • There is a clear pathway to grow collaborators and partners.
  • It expands Public Lab’s geographic reach.

Project development:

  • The project’s relevance to community science- there is a pathway to grow knowledge about the community and concern through environmental monitoring led by the community organizer, and possibly, local collaborators.
  • The project is fleshed out such that there is a clear indication of the work phases and goals of the project.
  • There are potential partners and collaborators who have been identified.
  • The candidates local ties will be exercised through the course of the project.

* Top ranking candidates will be offered a Project Development session with Public Lab staff. This meeting is primarily aimed at the Project Development part of the application where applicants can workshop their project ideas with a member of the Public Lab staff. Any missing application materials can also be flushed out at this time. The Project Development sessions run an hour in length, after which applications are rescored by Public Lab staff with the added materials from the work session. It is not required for eligible candidates to participate in Project Development sessions, but highly recommended as application scores generally go up after workshopping sessions. Once Project Development sessions are complete, applications are rescored and the candidate with the highest application score receives the fellowship.


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