The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Environmental Internship Program


Maximum of $7,350 for a 14-week internship (35 hours/ week at $15/ hour - the minimum number of hours/summer is 280). There is a high likelihood for proposals submitted to the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund of being supported, but no absolute guarantee. Application submission does not guarantee to fund.


The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund is a trust fund established under the will of the late Margaret L. Sussman of New York City. This fund was established to make awards for environmental internships to students focusing their studies on environmental subjects. The purpose of the fund is to enable graduate students to accept non-paying internship positions in environmental fields. SEAS is one of eight universities that receive funding from the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund for internships. SEAS will only submit proposals on behalf of students currently enrolled in SEAS and who are in good academic standing. SEAS agrees to accept money from the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund to be given to interns as a stipend. Students submit their proposals to the SEAS Office of Academic Programs (1520 Dana). After an initial review of the applications by SEAS Staff, finalists are selected and submitted to the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Trustees. The Trustees of the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund determine which proposals are accepted and the extent to which they are funded.

In recent years, funding priorities for the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund included internships with a focus on climate, global warming, brownfields, and urban projects. Inherently, internships supported have involved the preservation of wildlife, the control of pollution, the preservation of natural land resources, or similar subject matter related to the environment. Internships that focus on environmental research projects are commonly funded. Internships that focus on food justice, teaching about the environment through art or environmental lobbying are not eligible for funding.


  • Currently enrolled SEAS graduate students (PhD students are eligible to apply) who will be continuing their education beyond Winter Term of 2019 (i.e. you will be continuing your master's program into the 2020-2021 academic year or will be starting a Ph.D. program at SEAS in the fall after completing your master's degree). Work on your thesis or dissertation in the fall will be considered a continuation of education and therefore making the student eligible for Sussman support.
  • Must be in good academic standing (cumulative GPA must be at least 3.0)
  • The internship should offer opportunities for 'real-world, hands-on' experience
  • Interns will be utilized in an assignment involving the preservation of wildlife, the control of pollution, the preservation of natural land resources, or similar subject matter related to the environment.
  • No funding is provided for international internships. Internships must occur inside the U.S. or its territories and the primary focus of the internship must be on an area or with a population in the U.S.
  • No funding is provided for internships that involve any kind of advocacy or lobbying (although the host organization itself can be involved in lobbying)
  • Internships with private sector sponsors may be submitted but are rarely funded
  • Internships cannot take place on the UM campus or with a UM professor
  • Internships that would have otherwise been funded in full by the host organization are not eligible
  • In some cases, students wish to intern with an organization that they have previously worked for (volunteer, internship, job, etc.). Sussman does allow students to intern with a previous employer, however, the learning experience must be different.
  • Students cannot receive Sussman Funding more than once.
  • International Students are eligible to apply.

Application Requirements

  • Please view and use the guidelines attached here for the application proposal. 
  • Application (500-word maximum; 12-point font). Be concise and to the point. It should be written in layman's language, no jargon, be original, and should be understandable by non-experts. Please visit our SEAS Career Services Documents folder on Canvas and then follow the path Files - Internship Funding Templates to view the Sample Proposal 
    • Please note that if you are unsure of your opus plans (for example you are in the project planning class and haven't yet decided on a project or if you are a 1st year student in a 3 year program and won't be starting on your opus until next year, please note this on your application in the "opus" section).
    • You can choose to work more than 35 hours per week, but the funding only covers a maximum of 35 hours per week.
  • Current, up-to-date, one-page resume (single-sided)
  • Undergraduate & graduate transcripts (OAP will provide)
  • Letter of support from hosting organization (on letterhead)
    • Name of supervisor.
    • Description of what you will be doing (what goals you will accomplish).
    • Description of how the internship will be supervised.
    • A description of how the intern, the organization, and the environment will benefit from the intern's work.
    • Exact start and end dates.
    • Indicates the amount and type of compensation (if any) student will receive if no compensation will be given, be sure to specifically mention that it will be unpaid.
    • Please address the letter to the "Sussman Trustees"
  • Letter of support from a faculty member
    • Description of what you will be doing.
    • Description of why the work is important.
    • Validation of your qualifications to do the work described.
    • Identify who you will be working with.
    • Please address the letter to the "Sussman Trustees"
  • Organization Supporting Documentation (if possible not required) limit one-page front and back, including:
    • Organization's mission.
    • The date the organization was founded.
    • The number of full-time employees.
    • The number of full-time employees who are professionals.
    • Annual budget.
    • Please include this information if the organization is not well-known.

Submission Details

Submit a copy of the completed application and supporting materials via email (Microsoft documents are required) AND drop off a hard copy by Monday, February 3, 2020, to:
Office of Academic Programs (OAP)
1520 Dana Building
440 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1041

PLEASE MAKE ONE COPY OF ALL PROPOSAL MATERIALS to retain for your records. Please note that no changes can be made to the application after the application deadline.

Other Notes

Internship hosts are responsible for helping interns clearly define the duties expected of them, provide a professional setting for their interns, provide appropriate supervision, and are responsible for submitting an evaluation of the student to SEAS upon the conclusion of the internship. Internship hosts typically do not provide funding for interns. However, if an organization or agency has a paid internship position already figured in their budget, Sussman Fund support cannot go toward that internship.

If you are selected to receive Sussman funding, you must submit a thank you letter. Instructions for what to include in the thank you letter will be provided to those that receive this prestigious award. SEAS Internship Coordinator will collect the thank you letters and send them on to the Sussman Fund. 

At the conclusion of the internship, you will be required to submit a 2-3 page report covering the various aspects of your internship. This report should be suitable for inclusion in a SEAS newsletter, SEAS Internship Website, and for review by the Edna Bailey Sussman Trustees. This report should include the name of the organization where you worked, an overview of the work/research that you did, and a brief explanation of how the internship aided you in your professional development. Complete details for this report will be sent to you when you are notified of receipt of the award. 

Preference for the Edna Bailey Sussman Trust will be given to students who would otherwise not receive funding for their professional development internship experience. Click here for additional information on how internship applications are evaluated by SEAS. 

Please come into OAP (1520 Dana) to see examples of past student Edna Bailey Sussman Trust funding applications.

If you are selected for the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund, your internship host will be notified via email of your expected start and end dates, the number of work hours you specified, and the amount of your internship stipend. The internship host is under no obligation to provide any additional funding for the work dates/times that you specified in your proposal. You will also be carbon copied on this email.

Limitations for students applying for multiple SEAS internship funding opportunities: Students can apply for multiple SEAS internship funding opportunities: Please note that students can apply for the Marshall Weinberg Fellowship Funding and the Edna Bailey Sussman Trust Funding through SEAS. If you are selected for both Sussman and Weinberg funding, you will only be allowed to accept one of the funding awards. The students who are selected for both awards will be notified of at the end of April or early May on which award they will receive. If you have any questions about this, please contact SEAS Career Staff at

Please note that if you are selected for the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund, you must use the funding for the internship that you specified in your application. If you choose to complete a different internship or do not complete your internship, you must decline/return the Edna Bailey Sussman funding. It is important that if you apply for funding that you have a strong commitment to do the internship. Declining the internship and funding may have implications on future funding allocations from donor organizations to SEAS students.

Important Dates

Monday, February 3, 2020  -- Complete applications due to Microsoft Word documents are required.

Mid-February -- Students are notified via email whether or not their proposal will be forwarded to Sussman Fund for review.

March  -- Students will be notified of the Sussman Fund's decision. SEAS has requested notification by the end of Winter Term, but in past years the timing of the decision has not always been consistent.

May  -- Students receive their internship funding.

Application deadline: 
February 3, 2020
Funding type: 
Key eligibility criteria: 
Permanent Resident or Alien
Master's Students
Funding source: 
The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund is a trust fund established under the will of the late Margaret L. Sussman of New York City. This fund was established to make awards for environmental internships to students focusing their studies in environmental subjects.
Last updated: 
January 7, 2020