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Public Lab Wiki documentation

Fellowship Teams

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About Fellowship Teams

Fellowship Teams are financially supported collaborations hosted and facilitated by Public Lab. Teams are centered around a Community Organizing Fellow, and designed to support that fellow in their work on a local environmental concern or issue. Projects could be just starting, in their initial planning stages, or existing programs seeking additional expertise.

In getting started, Frontline Community Organizing Fellows work with Public Lab staff to define the goals of the project, and identify the roles of fellows who will 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 three 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.

The major goals of Fellowship Teams:

  • Advance a local community environmental concern with Public Lab community science and environmental monitoring methods.
  • Center community voice and needs. Community Organizers will outline the fellowship goals and community science project with Public Lab.
  • Grow a network of scientists, technologists, legal/advocacy advisors, and organizers working on environmental health issues.
  • Collaborate on the Public Lab platform. By sharing experiences, knowledge of best practices, and methods on PublicLab.org we elevate communities’ stories and help create pathways for other communities facing similar issues to get started.

Fellowship Teams are supported by Public Lab by:

  • A Community Organizer role which includes a stipend of $10,000 USD
  • 2-3 supporting fellowship roles with stipends ranging between $3,000 -$6,600 USD
  • A community science monitoring equipment budget for the duration of your project up to $2000 USD.
  • A dedicated Public Lab staff member to help you define and track towards your project goals, and support facilitation of your team meetings each month.
  • Peer-to-peer sharing and support within your cohort and on the Public Lab website.
  • Regular drop-in and information sessions hosted by Public Lab each week; including quarterly events for further professional development on topic interests (optional to attend).
  • Access to communication platforms including Zoom, Slack, and a team dedicated Google Drive.
  • Connection to all Public Lab Fellows through dedicated communication channels.

Starting a Fellowship Team:

One Frontline Community Organizing Fellow is selected to launch a Fellowship Team three times a year. To express interest in this Fellowship, please submit an application by filling out this form. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. We also encourage Nominations for this role. If you know of someone who could benefit from this opportunity, please be in touch and fill out this form.

What Organizers can expect launching a Fellowship Team:

  • Your first 2 weeks: Frontline Community Organizer Fellows can expect to learn how to use Public Lab’s website to connect with our network of partners, learn about our weekly drop-in events, and be introduced to Fellows communication platforms.
  • Your first month: you will begin to outline the goals of the project and work with Public Lab staff to identify a dedicated fellowship support team of up to three other people.
  • Once the fellowship team is selected: Public Lab coordinates a remote introductory meeting where Fellows engage in getting to know one another, share their skills, and learn Public Lab’s organizing philosophy in community science. The team solidifies the goals of the project and outlines how each role will contribute to them.
  • Ongoing: Fellowship Teams will meet on a biweekly basis with their cohort and the Public Lab staff to share updates, trouble shoot, and track on the progress towards the team’s goals.

Other Fellowship Team Members

Once the project has been defined, Public Lab will solicit for up to three Fellows to join the team in support of the project goals. To get updates on these fellowship offerings follow the Fellows tag on Public Lab found on this page.

Interested in learning more? Have a project idea? Need help?

If you’re a frontline community organizer interested in this fellowship program and need help narrowing down your project idea, or are unsure about filling out the application form, let us know! The Public Lab team is here to help.

  • Join us at Open Call, which occurs each week, and spark a conversation!
    • No pre-registration required.
  • Need to meet at another time? Schedule a time to meet with the Public Lab team.
    • Please contact us directly by emailing (organizing@publiclab.org). In the subject line please use Community Organizer 1:1. Please allow up to three business days for Public Lab staff to respond and coordinate a time to meet together.

Current Fellowship Project Teams:

West Virginia Mountaintop Removal

For well over a century the coal industry has exploited the people and natural resources of West Virginia. Large scale surface mining, also known as mountaintop removal not only deforests thousands of acres per mine site, but completely destroys the landscape leaving behind only bare rock and rubble. The bedrock that once formed some of the oldest mountains on the planet is blasted apart and turned into toxic dust clouds that settle on the communities below.

Over the years at Coal River Mountain Watch, we have discovered a handful of methods that we employ in the pursuit of chipping away at the profit margins of coal companies. One of the most successful tactics has been in observing, documenting, and monitoring mining activity and reporting on them to the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection in WV). The intent behind this fellowship team is to support our continued work against the coal industry using drones and other forms of observation to document violations of environmental law, and pressure the DEP to take appropriate action.

Fellows working on this project:

Val Verde Air Quality Monitoring Project

This project is based in Val Verde in Los Angeles County, California, USA where a large landfill has been operating in the community affecting local air quality since 1972. In the community’s fight against the landfill, residents have conducted preliminary air monitoring results that they've shared, documented and reported to every accessible body including to government agencies and the company itself. Having long since established local networks and organizations of support to address these challenges, only one or two people locally are versed in the pilot monitoring program. The intent behind this project is to share existing knowledge regarding the landfill air quality issue with more local community members, train people on how to conduct ongoing monitoring and have an air quality monitoring program that can be effectively shared to the broader Val Verde community.

Fellows working on this project:

Curious about past Public Lab fellows and their work? Please visit here: https://publiclab.org/wiki/fellows#Past+Public+Lab+Fellows+and+their+projects: