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Join ESSA Scholars

The ESSA Graduate Scholars Network provides academically prepared ASU graduate students with the opportunity to engage in immersive team research projects in earth system science; to learn to apply their core disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge to actionable science-based societal problems needing new solutions; to learn to communicate effectively with decision-makers, policymakers, and community leaders about wicked problems needing complex solutions; to develop the skills necessary for careers in academic, public, private and nonprofit sectors; and to be a part of the coproduction of knowledge in the emerging science of the earth system.

The Earth Systems Science for the Anthropocene (ESSA) graduate scholars network is excited to announce the first Immersive, Interdisciplinary, and Identity-based Team Science Experience (IIITSE) cohort for summer 2022. A team of five graduate students across multiple disciplines will work together in their cohort to co-design solutions-oriented research focused on the Rio Reimagined project. We are looking to support graduate students interested in developing a collaborative research and action project that explores several interconnected aspects of community development and ecological restoration on the Rio Salado (Salt River) and Gila River watershed. We are, in particular, aiming to work at the upstream, middle, and downstream ends of the Rio with Indigenous and urban communities living along the river.  Our approach is to co-create collaborative, culturally affirming, and solutions-oriented projects that center diverse knowledge systems to respond to community needs.  

Michele Clark

Through a diversity of projects and learning opportunities, ESSA is helping me to see my research in a radical new way and to open up avenues for my future…to expand my skills and engage with a diverse range of graduate students and help their research ideas grow.

Michele D. Clark, ESSA Project Manager

Image of the ESSA Scholar pathway using the basket-weaving analogy. ESSA scholars may step into different academic pathways, but they all will participate in ESSA activities and practices that build community and expand the ESSA network. As students advance through their individualized pathways (threads), they will come together to share their experiences and reflections with junior students, scholars, and faculty (woven basket). ESSA alumni will also contribute to the growing network of scholars and can function as advisors or mentors. The basket model reflects the creative action, the historical and cultural context, the conscious recognition of pattern, process, and planning, and the generation of a functional (and beautiful) product.

Be a part of the ESSA Graduate Scholars Network—We are looking for motivated graduate students:

  • In natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, technology, business, or law fields,
  • Who want to enhance their core disciplinary studies with a transformative knowledge, skills, and career-building experience in the transdisciplinary field of earth system science,
  • Who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and who have communicated with their current advisor about the ESSA initiative.

This experience involves three core requirements over three or more academic semesters plus a host of elective experiences:

  1. Core components of ESSA scholarship:

  • Immersive Team Science Experience – a real-world research experience that takes place over the course of the summer or an academic semester with the goal of building collaborative, convergent solutions with a team of researchers and other professionals who represent a diverse set of scientific and engineering fields and backgrounds.
  • ESSA Reading and Reflection Seminar – an ongoing reading and reflection seminar (eac h semester) where students take charge of the learning trajectory and present materials including videos, podcasts, art, peer-reviewed articles, and other content as it relates to communicating, co-producing, and collaborating in research.
  • Annual Symposium – a two-day opportunity to attend workshops, present professional scientific products and receive feedback, and interact with scientists, engineers, and other professionals from a host of career tracks and backgrounds.
  1. The ESSA Graduate Scholars Network is a student-centered, student-designed experience that helps students build the following:

  • Deep understanding of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) principles that form the basis for conducting socially embedded science,
  • Team science and collaboration skills vital for the transdisciplinary science and engineering of tomorrow,
  • Solutions-focused research skills for complex, socially embedded, real-world science problems,
  • Diverse ways of knowing, communicating, and co-producing research in a transformative and respectful way,
  • Enhanced skills in communicating complex science to a broad range of stakeholders,
  • Core disciplinary and cross-disciplinary knowledge foundational to earth system science for the Anthropocene.
  1. Finally, students within the network are made aware of a large range of research experiences—some course-based, some field-based; some located in academia and some in government, business, or non-profit NGOs—or create their own:

    Examples of student-designed learning elective experiences (vary by semester):

  • Teaching and mentoring inside and outside the academy
  • Case study scenarios in research design and problem-solving
  • Collaborative problem-based workshops
  • Dynamic multi-scale modeling or agent-based modeling of socio-ecological systems
  • Charrettes and practitioner critiques
  • Community embedded research
  • Internships and externships in government, business, or non-profit organizations
  • Knowledge mobilization
  • Studio internships
  • Humanities and field-based cultural projects in earth system science
  • Ethics seminars and courses
  • Science communication courses and workshops
  • Project management/Leadership Academy

We envision an ESSA Scholar would be able to join the graduate scholars network and build their core competencies as a scholar while engaging with their peers and the ESSA network. Eventually, ESSA alumni and scholars will be able to interact and discuss diverse career pathways.

All this within a supportive community and mentorship network:

Our networked mentoring model is designed to provide multiple avenues of support to students from a variety of life perspectives and backgrounds. ESSA team-building activities, a strong cyber structure and community, and co-location of trainees in a dedicated campus space build feelings of belonging. We embrace holistic approaches and university support for health and wellbeing, such as ASU Counseling Services, the ASU Counselor Training Center, and the LiveWell@ASU wellness program.

Getting involved is simple…

We are happy to discuss your interest in getting involved with the Earth System Science for the Anthropocene Graduate Scholar Network!

Please email us at with any questions about the network.

In order to apply for any ESSA-related funding, you must first complete the ESSA scholar registration form here: