When it comes to helping care for our planet, it’s all hands on deck.
Leaders from all disciplines are needed to tackle the immense challenge of protecting the Earth for current and future generations.
Our pilot program, the TESI Environmental Leaders Fellowship, brought together students from diverse majors and backgrounds and provided them with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and network to advocate for the planet as they take on leadership roles in their respective careers.
Funded by a faculty grant from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation, this Fellowship offered UF undergraduates from a variety of majors the opportunity to gain experience in environmental research, education & outreach, and civic engagement. Our 2021-22 cohort attended seminars featuring environmental experts, received mentoring from professionals in environmental fields, networked with peers, and took part in a fellow-designed, multi-day field experience focused on environmental challenges across Florida.
Click on the photos below to learn more about each Fellow and how they hope to connect their work to the environment.
Benefits of the Program
Fellows left program with the following:
- Spring Break field experience (March 2022)
- Enhanced understanding of environmental issues
- A broad skill set in different approaches to tackling environmental issues
- Professional and leadership skills focused on research, education and civic engagement. Fellowship experiences will culminate in a final project produced in tandem with a community organization that focuses on a salient environmental issue.
- A network of colleagues they can connect to as they emerge as leaders in their respective fields
- Stipend of $2,500 ($1,250 awarded in Fall 2021; $1,250 awarded in Spring 2022)
- Seminars: These discussions featured environmental professionals from a variety of fields.
- Mentoring: Fellows were paired with a mentor who discussed career pathways, environmental stewardship goals, and ideas for a final project.
- Spring break field experience: Fellows gained hands-on research experience and had opportunities to engage and connect with professionals, researchers, and other stakeholders tackling environmental issues from various perspectives.
- Final project with community partners: Fellows formed pairs or small groups to take part in a project that contributes to environmental education, research, stewardship, or civic engagement in the community. Fellows worked alongside a community organization to plan and implement the project.
TESI Environmental Leaders Reflect on Past Year, Look to Future
Twelve students gained the knowledge, skills, confidence, and network to advocate for the planet in their respective careers.
TESI Environmental Leaders Fellowship Featured on From Florida Podcast
In this episode, Coleen Sailsman and Sarisha Boodoo share what they learned about community engagement and environmental advocacy.
TESI Environmental Leaders Fellow Reflects on Florida Water Issues at UF Water Institute Symposium
For many of us, this was our first-ever in-person conference and a chance to be face-to-face with Florida's leading water experts.
Alison Adams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, UF School of Natural Resources and Environment
Communications Manager, UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute
Megan Ennes, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator of Museum Education, Florida Museum of Natural History & UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute
Graduate Assistant, University of Florida
Michelle LeFebvre, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator, Florida Museum of Natural History
Amonté Martin, Ph.D.
Graduate Assistant, University of Florida
Program Coordinator and Educator, UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute
Mariela Pajuelo, Ph.D.
Assistant Scientist, UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute
- Stacie Greco, Water Conservation Coordinator, Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection
- Alberto Lopez, Youth Outreach Coordinator, Florida Museum of Natural History
- Stephen Mulkey, Lecturer, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Heather Obara, Associate Director, Alachua Conservation Trust
- Anna Prizzia, Alachua County Commissioner and Co-Founder, Working Food
- Becky Raulerson, Lecturer, UF Department of Agricultural Education and Communication
- Andrew Ropicki, Assistant Professor, UF Food and Resource Economics Department
- Cecilia “CC” Suarez, Assistant Professor, UF Department of Agricultural Education and Communication
- Kathe Todd-Brown, Assistant Professor, UF Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences
- Amanda Waddle, Director, Zero Waste at the Repurpose Project
Other partners included: UF Water Institute and the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station.