Samuelsen Conservation Scholars Initiative

Samuelsen Conservation Scholars Initiative 1

Earth needs the finest conservation leaders each generation can produce. That means engaging young people from all sectors of society to tackle the challenges of a changing environment.

A diverse environmental workforce is critical to ensure science research, government agencies, and other organizations serve the needs of the nation as a whole. Those from different backgrounds can bring new perspectives to complex environmental justice issues, ensure wiser policy decisions, and serve as a bridge between an increasingly multicultural population and the scientific community.

Yet environmental fields lag far behind other science disciplines in racial and ethnic diversity. Ethnic minorities occupy roughly 12 percent of leadership positions in environmental organizations, while the members and volunteers of those organizations are overwhelmingly white.

The Samuelsen Conservation Scholars Initiative meets this need by introducing a broad range of students to the joys and rigors of field research.

The initiative supports programs such as the NRS’s Field Science Fellowship. Available to UC undergraduates from backgrounds underrepresented in the environmental sciences, the fellowship funds a summer of independent field research at the living laboratories of the NRS. Undergraduates apply alongside a UC faculty mentor. Over the course of the summer, students master field techniques and practice critical thinking with feedback from their mentor. At reserves, they meet fellow researchers, exchange scientific knowledge over meals and hikes, and become part of the field science community.

The initiative honors the first director of the NRS, J. Roger Samuelsen.

By bringing greater diversity to conservation science, your support helps focus the nation’s best minds on environmental issues.