FIERCE Student Fellowship

The FIERCE Student Fellowship 

The Organization 

The Education Trust–West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps. We work alongside parents, students, educators, policymakers, and community leaders across the state in transforming P-12 and higher education institutions to serve all students well. Lessons learned in these efforts, together with unflinching data analyses, shape our state policy agenda. To learn more, please visit 


The FIERCE Fellowship 

The FIERCE Fellowship is a leadership opportunity for undergraduate college and university students attending public institutions in California that runs from January 2024 to November 2024 and aims to build a network of students who can elevate their perspectives to influence educational equity through funding decisions. Fellows will develop leadership and advocacy skills to push for educational equity in their communities and media to pursue educational justice.  

The goal of the fellowship is to center students in budget decisions of the state’s public college and university systems. Fellows will be able to build out campus-specific equity goals and, as a cohort, push for state-level recommendations in alignment with The Education Trust–West’s Moving Forward Together: A Policy Agenda for Racial Equity in California Education Systems in 2023. 


Qualifications and Experience

The ideal candidate for this fellowship would be an undergraduate student of color currently enrolled at a public higher education institution in California and has the following qualities:

  • Passion for improving the educational experiences and outcomes for low-income students and students of color,
  • Excited about building community with student advocates across the state,
  • Would like to deepen their understanding of how California’s public colleges can center equity in funding decisions, and
  • Interested in pursuing a career in education policy, research, and advocacy.
  • Strong interpersonal and written communication skills.
  • Committed to “Walking the Talk,” which means operating with an understanding that systemic and institutionalized racism significantly affect communities of color and the historical impact of privilege and power on American systems.
  • Self-reflective, open to honest conversations about race, identity, and privilege and how these forces impact our internal and external work.

We encourage students with varying levels of advocacy experience to apply. All students regardless of citizenship status are eligible to apply. If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Megan Kane at [email protected].


Time Commitment and Expectations

Fellows will spend approximately 10 hours a month dedicated to the fellowship, including the in-person convening, 2-hour bimonthly sessions, pre- and post- session readings, and the advocacy to push for their funding priorities.

The fellowship will have an all-day in-person convening in Oakland in late January 2024 and 4 subsequent virtual convenings in March 2024, May 2024, July 2024, and September 2024. Dates will be determined with the fellows once selected.



Fellows will convene on a bimonthly basis for 2 hours (except for the in-person convening, which will be longer), with the programming will sharpen their advocacy skills to push for equitable funding and investment in higher education systems at the statewide level. Fellows will also:  

  • Create a space to build community as a network of student advocates, 
  • Engage in issue briefings on education equity issues, 
  • Engage in skill-building training on legislative advocacy, communications and media training, and 
  • Develop their own campaign goals for influencing budget decisions (campus-specific, locally, or at the statewide level). 

Fellows’ activities may include, but are not limited to:  

  • Developing written or visual content related to how colleges/universities should allocate funding to address equity issues on their campuses 
  • Legislative advocacy, including public testimony/comment, letters to the UC/CSU/CCC governing bodies, etc. 
  • Collaborating on a shared project that uplifts their recommendations (such as hosting a webinar together, writing a blog series, etc.) 
  • Identifying higher education institutions that are working to implement their recommendations 
  • Participating in a feedback session to inform ETW’s policy priorities and workplan 



All fellows will be compensated a total of $3000, split into 2 stipends of $1,500. ETW will cover transportation costs to attend the in-person meeting in Oakland (more details will be shared once selected). To process the stipend, all selected students would need to provide either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). For more information on ITIN, see here. 


Application process 

To apply to the FIERCE Student Fellowship, please complete the application form here: