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The next generation will experience the most direct effects of climate change in their lifetimes; therefore, it is critical to support emerging leaders to take action. The KIETS Climate Leaders Program will focus on solutions to mitigating or reversing negative effects of climate change via environmental, technical, managerial, political or economic approaches that, if adopted, offer a promise of impactful developments that will help humanity deal with this existential threat.

Program Objectives

KIETS will provide opportunities for NC State faculty members and students to work on initiatives for potential solutions to societal challenges being caused by climate change throughout the world – to our air, soil, oceans, flora, fauna, and artic regions. Our Scholars and Faculty Fellows will provide an expanded focus on the specific steps that individuals, companies, academics, communities, countries, and world leaders can take to adapt to and mitigate these changes.

This program will help empower, educate and inspire young people to embark on careers and become innovative leaders in mitigating climate change. The Scholars will participate in internships that focus on solutions for mitigating or adapting to the negative effects of climate change that in the medium and long term will help humanity deal with this existential threat.

Expected Outcomes

The one year of active engagement with the Scholars will:

  • Prepare trained leaders to understand and mitigate the effects of climate change
  • Make mitigation efforts related to climate change more visible to the public, the university and student body.
  • Enrich the academic experiences of students that will encourage further career involvement as leaders in this field.
  • Make NC State a national and international model in climate change solutions – an area sure to be of increasing importance in the next few decades

Program Components


Internships may be with for-profit companies, nonprofits, governments (local, regional, national or international), national or international agencies, academic institutions, or federal laboratories that are doing creative and impactful work. Internships will:

  • Be three to six months long.
  • Work on mitigation or adaptation to climate change effects.
  • Address climate related topics
    • save reefs and ocean fisheries
    • mitigate flooding
    • improve water supplies
    • reduce global energy use and/or greenhouse gas emissions
    • introduce alternative power sources
    • improve food supplies and/or general health and wellbeing

Climate Leadership Academy

Scholars will participate in the Climate Leadership Academy which has three primary components.

  1. A two to three day retreat to help the Scholars acquire the tools they will need to become true leaders in climate change.
  2. A monthly forum (seminars, workshops, panel discussions, etc.) on climate change, leadership, communication and community engagement.
  3. Optional opportunities (informal lunch meetings; attendance at public hearings, legislative sessions, commission meetings or local government meetings; etc.).

Climate Leadership Symposium

The Scholars will work with the Program Director, Senior Faculty Fellow and Faculty Fellows to organize an annual, public Climate Leadership Symposium. The symposium will highlight the accomplishments of the Scholars and provide an opportunity for invited speakers to disseminate information on climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches to the university community and the general public.