Milliken Scholar Program

Michigan Environmental Council is pleased to announce The Helen and William Milliken Scholar Program, a competitive $6,000 internship for Michigan college students that will inspire the Great Lake State’s next generation of environmental leaders.

Michigan Environmental Council is pleased to announce The Helen and William Milliken Scholar Program, a competitive $6,000 internship for Michigan college students that will inspire the Great Lake State’s next generation of environmental leaders.

Throughout their lives and careers, Helen Milliken and Governor William Milliken followed principle over political expediency to lead our state through difficult environmental conflicts with wisdom and foresight. In doing so, they honored and protected the water, land, fish and wildlife, and natural beauty that distinguish Michigan from all other places on Earth.

The Helen and William Milliken Scholar Program will provide an unsurpassed practical experience to Michigan college students who aspire to honor the Milliken legacy with a successful career in environmental law, policy and/or advocacy. Over time, we expect to see Milliken Scholars in top decision-making positions, leading Michigan to a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future.

The Basics. Each year a Michigan college student will be selected through a competitive process. The winner will receive a $6,000 prize and complete 400 hours of service learning with MEC. Winners may complete their 400 hours of service learning during any 16-32 week span in the 12-month period following their selection.

The service learning experience will focus on a “big idea”—an innovative policy concept or cutting edge advocacy tool—that will help restore Michigan to its once-proud place as a global leader in natural resource conservation and environmental protection. Revolving around that “big idea,” the internship will involve:

  • In-depth research and production of a written report that’s ready to be shared with the world;
  • Intensive practice in policymaking processes and various forms of advocacy, including media communications, organizing and lobbying; and
  • Opportunities to build relationships and receive mentoring from leaders of Michigan’s environmental community past and present.

The winner will be recognized along with the recipients of The William and Helen Milliken Distinguished Service Award and The Petoskey Prize for Environmental Leadership at the MEC Environmental Awards Celebration, which is held annually in spring or early summer.

The Committee. Milliken Scholars will be chosen by a committee to include the MEC president, a financial supporter of the Milliken Scholar program, a prominent environmental leader outside of MEC, and former winners of The William and Helen Milliken Distinguished Service Award.

Past recipients include Steven Hamp, Peter Stroh, Peter Wege, Marty Fluharty, Peter Karmanos, John Dingell, Vern Ehlers, Mary Brown, Bunyan Bryant, Jr., Lana Pollack, Faye Alexander Nelson, Becky Humphries, Rosina Bierbaum, Dave Dempsey, Rich Vander Veen, Andy Buchsbaum, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Matt Cullen and Joan Rose.

Eligibility. Current students in undergraduate or graduate programs at Michigan colleges or universities are eligible for the Milliken Scholar program.

The Application Process. The Milliken Scholar must be nominated by a Michigan college or university faculty member or administrator and must secure the participation of a faculty member who is willing to serve as a mentor throughout the internship (the nominator and mentor can be the same person). A complete application must include a resume; a cover letter expressing the applicant’s reason for applying; and a 2-3 page (800-1,300 word) research proposal for the “Big Idea” on which he/she would like to focus. (Please note that the research proposal may not be the project that is subsequently worked on during the internship). The application must also include two letters of recommendation: one from the nominator, and one from the faculty member who will serve as mentor that includes a statement of their willingness to serve as your mentor. (If the nominator is also the mentor, please still include a second letter of recommendation.)

Selection Criteria. The successful candidate will demonstrate a personal commitment to Michigan’s environment, strong interest in leadership and public policy, and an excellent track record in relevant academic coursework. Their “Big Idea” essay will be judged on the quality of the writing and the creativity, relevance and practicality of the research proposal.

Relation to Milliken Distinguished Service Award. Established in 2000 with the enthusiastic support of its namesakes, The William and Helen Milliken Distinguished Service Award is Michigan’s highest environmental honor. Presented each year at the MEC Environmental Awards Celebration, it recognizes academic, business, political and community leaders who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the Great Lake State. The Milliken Service Award honors individuals who have walked in the footsteps of the Millikens. The Milliken Scholar Program will inspire passionate and talented young people to carry that legacy into the future.

The “Big Idea.” Applicants will submit a proposal for a big idea that is ripe for policy discussion, currently lacks detailed research, and is cross-sectional covering more than one of MEC’s policy areas, which are: natural resources, public health, water quality and quantity, agriculture, transportation, environmental justice, solid waste and recycling, and energy and climate change. Below are three topic suggestions, or applicants can propose their own.

  • The Rural Divide – How do we address funding for public health–related concerns for small rural communities that are currently in resource extraction economic models as they transition away from mining, logging or other resource-based economies, with thought to ways that will encourage long-term environmental protection?
  • Autonomous Vehicles and the Environment – How do we as environmental advocates work with local and state governments to ensure autonomous vehicles are implemented in a way that maximizes reduction of carbon pollution and works to move people safely in cities with a sense of place?
  • Sustainable Agriculture – What is the ability of the agricultural sector to react and adapt to changing consumer preferences in both market demand and production processes, focusing on how the costs and benefits of water protection and other sustainability practices work within changing consumer preferences?

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Deadline: January 31, 2019

A complete application must include the application cover page and:

  • cover letter & resume
  • 2-3 page (800-1,300 word) research proposal for the “Big Idea” on which you would like to focus. (Please note that the research proposal may not be the project that is subsequently worked on during the internship).
  • two letters of recommendation: one from the Michigan college or university faculty member or administrator who is nominating you, and one from the faculty member who will serve as mentor that includes a statement of their willingness to serve as your mentor. (If the nominator is also the mentor, please still include a second letter of recommendation.)

Email your complete application as one PDF file to: MillikenScholars@environmentalcouncil.org
to the attention of Chris Kolb, President & CEO, Michigan Environmental Council.

Download Application Form with program description