CleanAirNow recognizes the importance of student interns bring to grassroots community organizing.  When aligned with community leadership and rooted in the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing, student interns can help advance the achievement of environmental justice. CleanAirNow also recognizes that student internships, if not planned and coordinated, can be challenging and might also perpetuate cultures of colonial mentality, exploitation, and extraction that CleanAirNow fully resists.       

CleanAirNow has instituted the following policy guidelines to ensure that potential student interns are aware of CleanAirNow environmental justice principles and that their potential internship with CleanAirNow  will be mutually beneficial to their learning and to LVEJO.


  1. STEP ONE – Read the  Student Internship FIVE GUIDELINES
  1. CleanAirNow Mission, Vision, and Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing: CleanAirnNow supports potential student interns who are familiar with CleanAirNow mission and vision ,, and have read the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing, and your potential internship should be developed collaboratively with CleanAirNow.  CleanAirNow will not participate in projects where the potential internship is designed prior to consulting CleanAirNow
  2. Internship Compensation:  Accepted Interns may receive limited stipends for their time. Potential student interns must account for the fact that environmental justice organizations such as CleanAirNow are under-resourced and have limited funds for paid internships. Please also consult your university or academic institution for a possible list of scholarships and resources.
  3. Intellectual Property:  CleanAirNow supports community-based research projects that explicitly recognize that knowledge produced through a collaborative process belongs to CleanAirNow.  In academic publications and public disseminations of your potential research, CleanAirNow must also be given full credit as a research partner and authorship. A copy of your report and any publication must be shared with CleanAirNow, for editing and review before submitting to an academic journal.
  4. Student Intern Management: CleanAirNow supports the participation of students, particularly students of color, in community-based research projects.  Potential student interns should be prepared to discuss how their time at CleanAirNow and their entire internship will be managed.
  5. Memorandum of Agreement:  To ensure the integrity of a potential student intern, CleanAirNow supports the use of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the student intern to set partnership ground rules, alignment principles, and accountability mechanisms.  
  1. STEP TWO – SELECT a student internship opportunities that fit your interests and particular skill sets:

CleanAirNow has student Internship opportunity that supports CleanAirNow community organizing and environmental policy work that centers public health benefits:

  1. Research in city investments and policies – You will potentially help research about where the city is spending investments directed to environmental justice communities budget, budgeting policy process, and budget analysis. Student with past experience or study in finance, policy, statistics, urban studies and/ or any relevant social science courses is preferred. You will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with CleanAirNow leadership and other community organizers and have the on-the-ground exposure of research and community impact.

The Internship can run for three months, approximately work 10 to 12 hours per week for. Hours could be flexible to accommodate your school and/ or work schedule and will be determined by the executive director.  

  1. STEP THREE: Send in these three items:
  1. your brief student resume;
  2. one writing sample; and
  3. your cover letter introducing your interest in one of the two student internship opportunities above.

      Please send the requests Beto Lugo Martinez phone (323)  313-2253 We will respond to you promptly.

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Atenas Mena

Atenas Mena is the Environmental Health Director and shares a co-leadership role at CleanAirNow. Atenas was born and raised in Kansas City and is a proud first-generation Mexican American. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Avila University in 2014 and went on to receive her master’s in nursing leadership from Missouri Western State University in 2019.

In addition to working as a nurse, Atenas received extensive environmental health training in the field, working with the Children’s Mercy Environmental Health Program team, as both an educator and a team coordinator. She has worked continuously throughout the last few years with CleanAirNow through boots-on-the-ground projects, served on the board of directors, and has recently transitioned into the current leadership role as Environmental Health Director. Atenas centers her work around reducing health inequities, educating communities on environmental health impacts, and empowering community members to have a voice and fight for equity and environmental justice.

Atenas recently received The Sapling Award in recognition of her outstanding commitment and leadership in environmental health nursing. This Award seeks to recognize a nurse leader who goes beyond everyday nursing endeavors to actively promote and protect environmental and human health and advance environmental justice.

Beto Lugo Martinez

Beto is an environmental justice organizer and co-executive director of CleanAirNow. He serves to raise community voices in the fight against environmental racism and to overcome the systemic exclusion of frontline communities from the decision-making process. His lived experience, growing up fenceline to a petrochemical facility continues to drive his work at the intersection of climate, environmental justice, and public health. He is a founding member of the California Environmental Justice Coalition, Co-Founder of La Union Hace La Fuerza, a farmworker justice organization and member of national CJ & EJ networks including the EJ Leadership Forum, Building Equity and Alignment (BEA) and the National Leadership Advisory Board Member of the Moving Forward Network.

Beto’s contributions to the movement include organizing, legislation that prioritizes environmental justice and community-led research amongst many other community-engaged initiatives that directly inform state policy. He has co-authored multiple academic publications on community-based participatory research, air pollution, data accessibility, and community engagement. In August 2023 was invited to continue serving through 2025 as a member of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, to represent a grassroots frontline perspective. He also serves in advisory board roles of professional associations and academic institutions, such as the American Public Health Association’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity, Children’s Environmental Health Sciences Translational Research at USC, Community Engagement Core of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center at USC, Health Effects Institute Environmental Justice Advisory Group and USC MPH Public Health Advisory Board Member for the Trojan Scholars for Advancement in Public Health.

Beto is currently involved in a research project titled “Building Momentum to Bridge Climate and Health Across KU Campuses and the Community supported by the Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative, The Commons, and the Office of Research at the University of Kansas.”