Overview and History
For over 20 years EnvironMentors has engaged students underrepresented in the sciences in raising their interest level and preparedness for science and environmental college degree programs.
EnvironMentors matches students with environmental and science professionals, faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students in one-to-one mentoring relationships. Working together, students and their mentors develop rigorous environmental science projects including a research paper and scientific poster to build critical thinking, experimental, and communication skills. Each spring, EnvironMentors students present their projects to a team of judges at each chapter's EnvironMentors Fair. The top three students from each chapter travel to Washington, DC to present their project at the National EnvironMentors Fair.
Over the course of the academic year, EnvironMentors unique alchemy combines environmentally-related experimental research, college preparation, environmental citizenship, and one-to-one mentoring for high school students underrepresented in the sciences.
EnvironMentors was initiated in 1992 in Washington, DC as an educational, community‐based initiative that served under‐resourced high schools in the District of Columbia. Since its inception, EnvironMentors has engaged over 1,500 students underrepresented in the sciences as they conduct hands-on, student-driven experimental science research, fostering inquiry-based critical thinking and writing skills.
In 2006, EnvironMentors joined the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) to expand the program and create new chapters at colleges and universities across the country. NCSE’s University Affiliate program, an established formal network of over 150 colleges and universities, provides an ideal infrastructure to expand EnvironMentors' national presence and strengthen the program's college access pathway.
Today, EnvironMentors has expanded to include thirteen chapters at: Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, Arkansas State University, Colorado State University, Heritage University, Kean University, Kentucky State University, Louisiana State University, North Carolina State University, University of California, Davis, University of the District of Columbia, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and West Virginia University.
1992 EnvironMentors launched by David Rubenstein as an independent 501(c)(3) organization registered in Washington, DC to serve low-income high school students. 14 students and 7 mentors participated in the first year of the program, meeting in the basement of Mr. Rubenstein’s home.
1995 EnvironMentors is also established in Trenton, NJ as the NJ EnvironMentors Program with help from Dorothy McSweeny and then NJ Representative, Honorable Chris Dodd.
1997 45 students and 45 mentors participated in the program. Mr. Rubenstein establishes a partnership with the US Forest Service to host the Awards Ceremony at the USDA Jamie Whitten Building.
1998 Mr. Rubenstein obtains funds through the US EPA to support expansion of EnvironMentors to three satellite sites including Baltimore, MD; and St. Louis, MO in addition to the Washington, DC Program.
2000 The EnvironMentors Program becomes a program housed at the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation.
2001 The Trenton, NJ EnvironMentors Program becomes the independent 501(c)(3) ScienceMentors under the direction of Maureen Quinn. ScienceMentors continues to the present day.
2006 The EnvironMentors Program becomes a program of the National Council for Science and the Environment. NCSE is awarded its first grant from the Toyota USA Foundation to support an EnvironMentors national, university-based expansion. The first university-based EnvironMentors chapter is piloted out of North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources.
2007 New university-based EnvironMentors chapters are established at Colorado State University, Alabama A & M University, and Alabama State University.
2008 University of Nebraska, Lincoln and Colleges of the Fenway join the EnvironMentors chapter network.
2009 University of California, Davis and Arkansas State University join the EnvironMentors chapter network.
2010 NCSE is awarded its first National Science Foundation grant through the NSF ITEST program to investigate what components of the program model have the strongest impact on student success. Kean University, Heritage University, and Louisiana State University join the EnvironMentors chapter network.
2011 West Virginia University joins the EM chapter network, while Alabama A&M rejoins the chapter network under new leadership
2012 Kentucky State University joins the EM chapter network, brining teh total number of EnvironMentors chapters in the 2012-13 program year to 13.
2013 The EnvironMentors National Fair will take place on Monday, May 20th!