Daisy Benitez, Erik Martinez, Kimberley Miner, Lisa Stoddard
Photo: Daisy Benitez, Erik Martinez, Kimberley Miner, Lisa Stoddard

Meet our new Fellows Advisory Committee members

The Fellows Advisory Committee (FAC) uses their wisdom and experience as Switzer Fellows to advise the foundation to ensure our programs and efforts are relevant for the Switzer Network. We welcomed four new members to the committee this year: Daisy Benitez, Erik Martinez, Kimberley Miner, and Elisabeth (Lisa) Stoddard. We are excited to introduce them to you, and invite you to learn more about them in their responses to the questions below!

Daisy Benitez

What motivated you to become an FAC member?

Since becoming a fellow, I have been continuously impressed by the support the Switzer Network provides. It is unlike any organization I have been a part of before. Being part of the FAC will give me the opportunity to support the Switzer Network directly in establishing new innovative ideas that will further develop fellows and prospective fellows. 

What inspires you about the Switzer Network?

The most inspiring aspect of the Switzer Network is the passion that fellows have for their work and the continued protection of our environment. The projects that each fellow is involved with span an array of topics and expertise, but all focus on our core mission of positively impacting the environment. 

What unique perspectives or experiences will you contribute to the FAC?

I navigate the world as Latina from a low-income background who is familiar with the issues of environmental justice and has seen and lived them first hand. I hope to continue to center environmental justice in all the Switzer Foundation’s efforts. Similarly, I hope to help the foundation continue to expand on its mission by increasing its awareness to under-represented groups and increasing ways to support BIPOC fellows. 

Erik Martinez

What motivated you to join the FAC?

I’m passionate about making the environmental field more diverse by increasing the representation of people of color. Since joining Switzer, I have experienced first-hand the foundation’s commitment to empower more leaders of color. I joined the FAC with the hopes of using my expertise and lived experiences to help further the foundation’s commitment to diversity.

What inspires you about the Switzer Network?

I’ve been able to work with fellows and staff over the years and have always been impressed by the amount of leadership and knowledge each person has displayed. Switzer is one of the few organizations I have come across that truly values the network’s input and works to incorporate member feedback. I have seen the foundation identify an area of growth, make a commitment to improve in this area, and it did so by actively listening to the Switzer Network.

What unique perspectives do you bring to the FAC?

I plan to contribute my lived experiences as a first generation Mexican-American navigating the environmental field. It has come with many challenges, and my goal is to use these experiences to hopefully help reduce those challenges and barriers for the next generations.

Kimberley Miner

What motivated you to join the FAC?

I love the Switzer Network, and I am thrilled to be an ongoing part of that. I wanted to share that experience with others and be a part of continuing the positive impact the Switzer Foundation has on its fellows.

What inspires you about the Switzer Network?

I am constantly inspired by all of the network’s members and the work they are doing. I learn so much from everyone, and it gives me hope to see so many good people working in such diverse, fantastic areas.

What unique perspectives do you bring to the FAC?

I hope to bring insights from the intersection of academia, government, and think tank science. I have had a diversity of jobs and experiences, and I would love to help others who are new to the network find a place where they can thrive.

Elisabeth (Lisa) Stoddard

What motivated you to join the FAC?

I am motivated by Switzer’s shift to prioritize issues of social justice, equity, and representation within the organization and within environmental fields. Social and environmental justice is a focus in my research and teaching, and it is an area that I am committed to developing further professionally and personally long-term. I am excited to work on and grow with the FAC and peer fellows.

What inspires you about the Switzer Network?

The network of people inspires me, particularly their commitments to make positive change, as well as their commitment to engage in that work even when it seems insurmountable.

What unique perspectives do you bring to the FAC?

I am a social scientist by training, which can be a smaller cohort of folxs in the network. Social scientists and humanists are critical to help understand and analyze the history, context, and power relations that inform environmental problems. As an associate teaching professor, I focus on making environmental education more critical, inclusive, representative, and justice-oriented. As Switzer supports fellows in higher education, including those who go on to teach others, equity and justice in environmental education is key.

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