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Silicon Valley Power Sustainable Futures Fellowship

In the summer of 2022, Santa Clara University and Silicon Valley Power, the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility, announced a new five-year Silicon Valley Power (SVP) Sustainable Futures Program to enhance college access through scholarships and support project-based learning for undergraduate students pursuing studies and careers in sustainability fields.

Silicon Valley Power Sustainable Futures Fellowships

Each year for five years, Santa Clara University will award three students fellowships of $5,000 to help fund experiences through the University’s Center for Sustainability. Preference will be given for students who are from underrepresented socioeconomic backgrounds who intend to pursue careers in sustainability or clean energy and who show strong leadership potential and commitment to climate goals such as UN Sustainable Development Goals. Fellows will benefit from:

  • High-Impact Learning Experiences: Students will have the chance to engage in 10 weeks of high-impact projects that provide real-world perspectives and experiences, build critical applied skills and enhance their early career and post-graduate success.
  • Partnership Opportunities: Working with the City of Santa Clara, students will lead research and outreach projects to solve local climate or sustainability-related problems, increasing their understanding and ability to create local solutions and exposing them to green jobs.

Meet the Fellows
Chrislyn Brandon, 2023-24
Emil Chaia, 2023-24
Sarah Walsh, 2023-24
Declan Bernal, 2022-23
Ayla Flanagan, 2022-23 
Connor Grady, 2022-23


  • Students shall remain in good academic and behavioral standing based on SCU policies and values.
  • Current Santa Clara University junior or senior.

Applicants who meet all of the following will be prioritized for this opportunity:

  1. Come from underrepresented socio-economic backgrounds (e.g. Black, Latina/o/x, Native American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and first-generation),
  2. Demonstrate a clear intention to pursue a career path in sustainability or clean power sectors,
  3. Show strong leadership potential and commitment to the climate mandate outlined within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Fellowship experience is designed to enable students to explore intersectional issues surrounding the global climate crisis as well as application and scaling of climate solutions at the local level, using the SCU campus and the City of Santa Clara as living laboratories.  Some topics may be more theoretical while others may be highly applied in areas like technology development, behavior change, and data collection and analysis.

Fellowship applicants propose a project of interest or may express interest in working with Center for Sustainability and/or City of Santa Clara mentors to develop a project in one of the following areas:

  • Integration of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) practices into sustainability projects
  • Focus on climate and sustainability issues at the local (City of Santa Clara) level related to:
    • Green building/building decarbonization
    • Clean mobility/transportation decarbonization
    • Electrical, Mechanical or Civil Engineering that supports sustainability
    • Microgrid or other energy related generation/storage
    • Climate resilience, heat impacts, etc. (community component)
    • Natural systems/water resources/habitat/urban forest
    • Research and summaries of existing regional sustainability work being done
    • The application of JEDI practices in climate action
    • Sustainability outreach/marketing best practices or campaigns
    • Food systems and climate
    • Local investments/divestments and climate 

The innovative, five-year program is funded by a $375,000 grant from Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the City of Santa Clara’s not-for-profit municipal electric utility. Selected students—especially those transferring from local community colleges—will use the funds to attend and receive advanced opportunities at Santa Clara University and its award-winning environmental and sustainability curriculum.

“Investing in a green jobs workforce pipeline is critical to achieving Silicon Valley Power’s vision to innovate creative energy solutions for a resilient and sustainable community,” said SVP’s chief electric utility officer, Manuel Pineda. “It is also vital to meet the City of Santa Clara’s climate goals.”

Read more about this innovative gift from the Silicon Valley Power and the City of Santa Clara which funds not only these fellowships, but also scholarships.