Future leaders will need a diverse and interdisciplinary skill set to solve the major environmental challenges we face. This means not only grasping the scientific and physical knowledge necessary to find novel solutions, but also understanding the policy landscape as it relates to environmental issues. The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment’s Rising Environmental Leaders Program (RELP) is training future leaders today. The program announced its 2020 cohort today.
RELP enables graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to develop leadership and communications skills to further the impact of their research beyond academia to the policy community and greater public. The program, which has trained more than 180 fellows since it began in 2010, includes a one-week Washington D.C. boot camp where rising leaders get a chance to interact with and learn from experts in the legislative, governmental and nongovernmental organization (NGO) communities.
"I see RELP as an incredible opportunity to improve my understanding of the types of information and questions that policymakers are seeking with regard to my research on the social aspects of water resources management,” said Courtney Hammond Wagoner, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford’s Water in the West program who will be among the cohort. “My research directly intersects with a lot of federal policy, including the Clean Water Act and Farm Bill policy. Through RELP I want to learn how to engage more directly with these policies and federal agencies for my research."
In addition to D.C. boot camp, RELP fellows receive training in communication skills, public speaking, and working with reporters, legislative staff and others.
“Every year we welcome amazing graduate students and post docs to advance their skills in the policy arena,” said Roberta Tugendreich, program manager at the Woods Institute. “We draw from all different areas of science, engineering, medicine, social science, law, and the humanities to create a diverse group of young environmental leaders of the future.”
Past RELP participants have gone on to professorships in academia, research positions in NGOs, positions within government agencies and other opportunities that allow them to forward their research and promote thoughtful environmental decision making.
For more information on the 2020 cohort, visit our program page.