Two Fellowships Available to Individuals from Underrepresented or Frontline Communities Statewide

October 22, 2021

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and WE ACT for Environmental Justice today announced the establishment of two environmental justice fellowships in honor of the late Cecil Corbin-Mark, the former Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and his dedication to New York State’s environmental justice movement. Today’s announcement builds on New York State’s commitment to ensure an equitable clean energy transition for all New Yorkers as required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“Cecil Corbin-Mark was a tireless advocate for underserved communities and a devoted leader of New York’s environmental justice movement,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris. “He was an outstanding colleague and instrumental partner to NYSERDA in assessing opportunities for initiatives that could benefit communities that have historically borne the brunt of environmental pollution while helping to raise energy awareness among residents of these communities. Cecil’s spirit lives on in New York and beyond, and these fellowships will help carry out the visionary work that meant so much to him and the thousands of lives he touched.”

The Cecil Corbin-Mark Environmental Justice Fellowship at NYSERDA is a one-year, paid position, including benefits, and will provide an opportunity for a qualified candidate to contribute to policy and program development, gain professional experience, and contribute toward advancing New York State’s climate and equity goals. The fellow will work in a cross-sector role to advance environmental and energy justice considerations across NYSERDA and with partner State agencies to help ensure that frontline and underserved communities are able to meaningfully participate in and benefit from the emerging clean economy.

The NYSERDA fellow’s responsibilities will include:

  • Working to develop and advance environmental and energy justice policy across the Authority;
  • Collaborating with NYSERDA program teams, external stakeholders and other State agencies to advance environmental and energy justice objectives across NYSERDA’s clean energy portfolio;
  • Conducting research and analysis on issues related to the intersection of energy, environment, and equity;
  • Managing initiatives related to environmental and energy justice; and
  • Engaging environmental justice communities in state climate and energy justice policy and program planning.

In addition, WE ACT for Environmental Justice will hire and fund a fellow to work within their organization focusing on the development of environmental justice policy while interacting with community members, companies and other stakeholders to advance their specific work. Although the NYSERDA and WE ACT for Environmental Justice fellowship programs are independent of each other, the programs will collaborate to allow fellows in both programs to share their respective experiences.

Both of these fellowships were announced during the WE ACT for Environmental Justice Gala held on October 21, 2021, which included a touching tribute to Cecil Corbin-Mark and his legacy.

Applications for both fellowship programs will be accepted beginning January 1, 2022.

Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said: “NYSERDA’s Cecil Corbin-Mark Environmental Justice Fellowship is a great way to honor the memory and legacy of our Deputy Director Cecil Corbin-Mark. Cecil, who passed away a year ago, mentored many young environmental justice advocates while working with NYSERDA and others to advance environmental and climate justice across the state, and creating a fellowship for those interested in following in his footsteps to is a fitting way to continue his work.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said: “Cecil Corbin-Mark was a tenacious champion for social and environmental justice and a powerful force for positive change whose work was dedicated to elevating community voices. The Cecil Corbin-Mark Environmental Justice Fellowships announced today will create meaningful opportunities for future environmental justice leaders to continue his work lifting up community leaders and fighting for fairness. I’m grateful to our partners at NYSERDA and WE ACT for establishing these fellowships, which will help amplify efforts underway to improve quality of life in disadvantaged communities across New York State. I can think of no better way to honor my friend Cecil’s remarkable legacy.”

Senator Robert Jackson said: “As a legislator committed to environmental justice, I celebrate NYSERDA’s Cecil Corbin-Mark Environmental Justice Fellowship. It is a touching and effective way to honor the memory of someone who dedicated his life and career to dismantling systemic and institutional racism as it intersected with our environment. These fellowships make his legacy concrete by putting funding behind fellows fighting for the underserved communities affected by industries that have polluted the air and dumped their toxic waste like the one I represent. These fellowships will ensure there are resources to support people carrying out the visionary work that meant so much to Cecil and the thousands of lives he touched.”

Assemblymember Al Taylor said: "I cannot emphasize enough just how wonderful a person Cecil was. I greatly admired Cecil's kind soul and his tireless drive to make the world a better place. NYSERDA’s Cecil Corbin-Mark Environmental Justice Fellowship is a fitting way to honor Cecil's legacy. Through this fellowship Cecil's spirit and life's work lives on in future generations." 

Mari da Silva, Chair, NAACP New York State Conference, said: “We are excited to see the establishment of these fellowships in honor of the inspiring work that Cecil Corbin-Mark did to promote environmental justice in New York State. These fellowships will provide a unique opportunity for individuals to advocate for and assist frontline communities who feel the impact of climate change the most.” 

The NYSERDA and WE ACT for Environmental Justice fellowship programs in honor of Cecil Corbin-Mark furthers New York State’s comprehensive efforts to enact the nation’s most aggressive climate change agenda, with environmental justice and equity at its core, and ensure all New Yorkers benefit as New York transitions to a clean energy economy.

These fellowship opportunities follow Governor Kathy Hochul’s recent announcement that $6 million is available over three years to support 150 Climate Justice Fellowships, which will be administered by NYSERDA, for individuals across the state currently residing in historically disadvantaged communities or from priority populations.

For more information on the Cecil Corbin-Mark Fellowship opportunity at NYSERDA, please visit.

Additional information for the fellowship opportunity at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, can be found here Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Act

New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $21 billion in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit or follow us on TwitterLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., FacebookLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., YouTubeLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., or InstagramLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

About WE ACT for Environmental Justice

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. Visit us at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.