Fall 2020 Newsletter
From the Executive Director
Dr. Sarah Reed
Executive Director
Greetings from the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, and welcome to our fall newsletter highlighting our 34th cohort of Switzer Fellows!

In 2018, the foundation updated its mission, vision, and values to commit to advancing social equity as well as improving environmental quality. We have made important progress in expanding the representation of different disciplines, identities, and perspectives in the fellowship program, providing training in leadership for equity and justice as a core component of our fellowship curriculum, and convening spaces for the Switzer Network to openly discuss the intersection of racial justice and the environmental movement. But we still have a long way to go to ensure that the foundation's commitment to equity transforms all aspects of our programs, operations, and governance. We look forward to working with the Board of Trustees and the recently reconvened Fellows Advisory Committee in setting actionable goals for how to do so.

Another important commitment is to ensure that the investments held by the foundation's endowment support our mission. Our strategy for mission-related investing includes engaging in shareholder resolutions that encourage companies to strengthen or adopt new policies and practices to improve environmental quality. For the first time this year, the foundation's investment committee voted to support shareholder resolutions advanced by our partners at As You Sow, and several of these resolutions resulted in negotiated agreements to improve the companies' environmental practices. 

Please join us in welcoming the 2020 Switzer Fellows and celebrating their creative and compelling leadership in environmental science, policy, and justice. Please also help us to spread the word about the upcoming application cycle to recruit our next cohort of fellows. In particular, note that we have expanded eligibility for the fellowship to include U.S. permanent residents and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

Sarah E. Reed, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Meet the 2020 Fellows

We are happy to share our newest cohort of Switzer Fellows. This fall, the 2020 fellows are getting to know each other, the foundation and fellowship alumni through a series of virtual events that will comprise their fall retreat. Use the links below to visit individual Switzer Fellows' profiles, or visit the 2020 cohort page on our website.

Alejandro Artiga-Purcell, UC Santa Cruz, Ph.D., Environmental Studies
Naomi BeyelerUCSF, Ph.D., Global Health Sciences
Camila BustosYale Law School, JD, Law
Lucia Calderon, UC Berkeley, MPH, MCP, Public Health & City Planning
Christina De Jesus VillanuevaUniversity of Rhode Island, Ph.D., Biological and Environmental Sciences
Kristin DobbinUC Davis, Ph.D., Ecology
Demi EspinozaAntioch University Los Angeles, MA, Urban Sustainability
Raven GrafHarvard Kennedy School, MPP, Masters in Public Policy
Oscar GutierrezUC San Diego, Ph.D., Ethnic Studies
Jade Johnson, San Diego State University, MS, Public Health
Natalie LounsburyUniversity of New Hampshire, Ph.D., Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science
Gillian LuiYale University, MBA, Business Administration
Kelly LuisUniversity of Massachusetts Boston, Ph.D., Marine Science and Technology
Hannah MittelstaedtUniversity of Maine at Orono, Ph.D., Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Katie Pofahl, Yale University, MEM, Environmental Management
Luis Alexis Rodríguez-CruzUniversity of Vermont, Ph.D., Food Systems
Monika ShankarUCLA, MURP, Environmental Analysis and Policy
Ashley Stewart, Yale University, MESc, Environmental Science
Evelyn Valdez-WardUC Irvine, Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Idalmis VaqueroUCLA, JD, Law
Grant Programs Updates
The application period for 2021 Switzer Fellowships will open on November 1, 2020 with applications due in early January 2021. Guidelines will be updated by late October. 

Last year, the foundation expanded its fellowship eligibility guidelines to include not only U.S. citizens, but also permanent residents and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

The Switzer Foundation is once again accepting proposals under the Leadership Grant Program, which provides up to $40,000 to qualified organizations working with a Switzer Fellow as either a new staff member or on a project basis. Successful Leadership Grant proposals address a critical environmental issue, advance the leadership skills, expertise and career of the Switzer Fellow, and increase the capacity of the organization to address the issue at hand. 

In order to help fellows take advantage of the wealth of online learning opportunities that have become available since the onset of COVID-19, the foundation has increased the maximum award amount under the Professional Development Grant fund, which provides small grants of up to $1,000 to assist fellows with expenses for developing skills and building professional networks. In 2020, through this program, fellows have honed technical skills like grant writing, writing for policy impact, and drone technology, as well as increased their professional capacity through leadership coaching. Fellows also further developed their personal and professional skills with regard to racial equity issues, navigating change, and mindfulness-based stress reduction.
Fellows Advisory Committee Reconvened
The Switzer Fellows Advisory Committee (FAC) is composed of fellows who have volunteered to assist the Switzer Foundation board and staff in an advisory and contributory capacity. In July, through nominations from fellows, the nine current FAC members were selected by a committee of fellows and staff. FAC members and foundation staff are collaborating on a list of goals and plans for the current fiscal year and beyond. FAC members and staff are collaboratively reviewing a new all-fellows survey to be conducted this fall and other activities in support of the strategic review that is currently underway.
Fellows in the News
Below is a small sampling of news about our fellows' work that appeared in mainstream media recently. To learn more about our fellows' work in the past year, please visit our Fellows in the News feed. You can get regular updates by following us on Twitter or Facebook.

Nigel Golden presented the 2020 Ambrose Jearld Jr. Lecture on Diversity and Inclusion in July. His remarks focused on the importance of addressing the cultural and structural barriers to full participation by marginalized communities in STEM.

Daniel Swain was quoted in a CNN homepage story on the West's wildfires and their connection to climate change.

Urvi Parekh was named to Business Insider's list of "100 People Transforming Business" for her work on Facebook's shift to renewable energy.

Dr. Andrew N. Cohen's research on false positive results on COVID-19 tests resulted in changes to the Tour de France's testing procedures.

Kathy Fallon Lambert was quoted in The Washington Post on an EPA rule change cutting mercury pollution.

Switzer Fellows also published almost a dozen books in the past twelve months, including volumes on Europe's last primeval forest, hurricanes, cougars, solutions for the climate crisis, looking for life on Mars, and more.
A vibrant community of environmental leaders