RCP Scholars Program

What is the RCP Scholars Program?

The Resilient Communities Project (RCP) Scholars Program partners U of MN graduate and professional students with local government agencies in Minnesota to collaborate on research and technical assistance projects that help to advance community sustainability, equity, and resilience.

Through the program, students collaborate with local government staff and community leaders on a high-priority project. Projects are proposed by our local government partners and can cover a wide range of issues that impact community resiliencefrom housing, transportation, and economic development to climate adaptation, health equity, and environmental stewardship. Through the program, RCP Scholars have an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world project, and to network with professionals and community leaders in their field. 

RCP Scholars are hired as graduate research assistants for a 25–50% appointment over the summer (May–August). Although students are not eligible to earn academic credit for their involvement, the experience may be able to fulfill an internship, applied practice, or other academic requirement in their degree program.  

Applications for Summer 2024 are now closed.

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Applications are accepted from graduate and professional students at the Twin CIties, Duluth, and Rochester campuses from all fields and disciplines, although specific skills or training may be required for some projects. RCP Scholars are selected through a competitive process, and must be

  • a current University of Minnesota graduate or professional student who has completed at least one (1) semester of study in their degree program, 
  • enrolled for the upcoming fall semester with active status and in good academic standing, and
  • available to regularly work 10–20 hours per week during summer term (mid-May through August).

Summer 2024 RCP Scholars are working on the following projects: 

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Indigenous History Project for City Public Spaces (City of La Crescent)

Project Goal: Identify opportunities for the City of La Crescent to share the history and celebrate the culture of indigenous communities that have inhabited the land in and around La Crescent as they develop a plan for a new Overlook Plaza and other public spaces in the community

Preferred Qualifications: Experience with community engagement, oral histories, and/or qualitative research

Property Condition Scoring for Blight Mitigation (City of Duluth)

Project Goal: Help the City develop a standard metric to score properties in Duluth, and pilot the scoring system to begin identifying and mapping properties in poor condition that are at risk of deterioration and demolition, and that might benefit from City investments in infrastructure, housing assistance, and targeted services

Preferred Qualifications: Previous urban planning, public policy, or housing coursework; GIS experience helpful; may require travel to Duluth (reimbursable)

Electric Vehicle Resource Guides (Washington County and Metropolitan Council)

Project Goal: Create an easy-to-understand and well-designed resource guide to help residents, businesses, and municipalities transition to Electric Vehicles (EV) usage

Preferred Qualifications: Familiarity with Adobe suite and graphic design, strong writing and communication skills, previous urban planning or transportation planning coursework

Pedestrian and Bike Trail Gap Analysis (Scott County)

Project Goal: Review the existing trail and sidewalk infrastructure in Scott County to understand where gaps in the system exist along County Roads, and develop a scoring system the County can use to inform decision making for future public investment by prioritizing implementation of trail segment construction

Preferred Qualifications: Strong GIS skills, transportation planning knowledge helpful