Our fellows advance skills and solve environmental problems through hands-on research experience. Research facilitates engagement, active learning, and a deepening of understanding through the application of knowledge. They are in environments where they work as part of research teams, and receive mentorship from trained and supportive senior mentors, and from peer mentors. In addition, fellows are asked to mentor peers and more junior fellows, and to work in groups to engage in outreach. The structure we use encourages the fellows to see themselves as both teachers and learners. The approach promotes shared values, leadership, and communication. It also leads to a sense of fulfillment and community, which supports persistence.