University News

New internship program prepares students for environmental careers with training, funding

Funded by a $1 million gift from Pavel Molchanov, the program will match undergraduate students with environmental internships where students can supplement their academic work with experiential, professional training.

Bell Tower on UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

A new endowed internship program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment will put students one step closer to environmental science careers. A $1 million gift from Pavel Molchanov of Charlotte will match students with hands-on professional summer internships and help fund the experience.

A $1 million gift from Molchanov, an expert in energy sector analysis, will endow the Pavel Molchanov Scholars Program. The program will create a partnership between the UNC Institute for the Environment and selected environmental small businesses, non-profit organizations and government institutions in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Each year, up to 10 undergraduate students will be matched with an environmental internship at one of the partner organizations where students can supplement their academic work with experiential, professional training. Molchanov Scholars will receive a $5,000 stipend to support their summer experience.

“This generous gift allows us to invest in the next generation of leaders in the environmental realm by funding transformational professional experiences for Carolina undergraduates,” said Michael Piehler, director of the UNC Institute for the Environment. “We are grateful to Mr. Molchanov for his generosity and commitment to preparing students for environmental careers.”

The UNC Institute for the Environment seeks to meet major environmental challenges by developing collaborations among diverse academic fields, public and private partners, and an informed and committed community. Undergraduate students in any interdisciplinary degree program who want to understand and solve complex environmental issues can apply for the Molchanov scholarship. The inaugural class of Molchanov Scholars is expected to be announced in March 2019. Additional information on the program and how to apply for the scholarship will be made available online.

“Thinking back to my college days, internships were the experiences that prepared me best for what I am doing currently,” said Molchanov. “I am delighted to support UNC undergraduates who want to gain firsthand exposure to environmental careers, an important and dynamic field.”

Molchanov is a senior vice president and equity research analyst at Raymond James & Associates. He joined the firm in 2003 and has since been working as part of the Energy Group, researching oil and gas, renewables and clean technology. Molchanov also serves as a member of the advisory board at Cool Effect, an environmental project-funding charity. Molchanov discovered his passion for studying energy and natural resources while at Duke University, where he graduated cum laude in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. He was born in Moscow and grew up in Charlotte.

Molchanov’s gift supports For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina. The University’s historic $4.25 billion fundraising campaign is inspired by the Blueprint for Next, Carolina’s overall strategic framework built on two core strategies: “of the public, for the public,” and “innovation made fundamental.”