Leadership Stories

Nov 23, 2022
This in-depth conversation with Dr. Brittani Orona (Hupa, Hoopa Valley Tribe) on the Cal Ag Roots WELL podcast digs into the concept and practice of the Landback movement in California, including the deep history of Native resistance in the state. It also explores Brittani’s background and new role at San Diego State University.Read more >
Sep 28, 2022
As a child José regularly visited family in Mexico, where they had abundant natural space to explore, but he was disappointed in the lack of safe parks to play in when he would return to Los Angeles. As a community organizer, he saw the value of quality greenspace to working class communities. These experiences ultimately led him to pursue a career as a landscape architect working to advance park equity.Read more >
May 17, 2022
Aaron Maruzzo is bringing the skills he learned during his MPH back to his community in Saipan to “reduce pollution and improve environmental and human health through community-based action.” We interviewed Aaron on the unique professional and personal challenges and opportunities of working to improve environmental and human health at the intersection of two little-recognized acronyms: PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).Read more >
Apr 13, 2022
Combining her drive for sustainability, innovation, and diversity, Janelle Heslop leads a $1B project to drive impact in operations. “I don't dream about jobs. I dream about impact,” Heslop says. “I want to manage, run, lead projects that are having a meaningful impact in the world, making it prepared for future challenges like climate change, leveraging emerging ideas and innovation to create a healthier, more equitable society.”Read more >
Mar 16, 2022
In early March, a life-sized statue of Switzer Fellow Dr. Kimberley Miner was stationed at the Smithsonian along with more than 120 IF/THEN® Women in STEM Ambassadors. In honor of Women’s History Month, we spoke with Kimberley about her experience inspiring future leaders in STEM and what she’s been working on lately as a climate scientist at NASA.Read more >
Feb 16, 2022
With environmental science being the least diverse field in STEM, Regan Patterson co-founded Black in Environment to build community and increase representation for Black folks across environmental realms. Timnit Kefela is a co-organizer. In honor of Black History Month, we asked them a few questions about the project. We are excited to share about their achievements and look forward to Black in Environment Week 2022!Read more >
Nov 11, 2021
Globally, we generate $120 billion of agricultural waste every year. What farmers cannot sell, they often burn, with catastrophic consequences for human health and the environment. Takachar has developed a cheap, small-scale, portable technology that attaches to tractors in remote farms. The award-winning machine converts crop residues into sellable bio-products like fuel and fertilizer, and reduces smoke emissions by up to 98%.Read more >
Jan 12, 2021
Cell Mentor's Community of Scholars is a group of Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER) composed of postdoctoral fellows, early-stage investigators, instructors, and consultants with a common passion to advance scientific discovery while innovating diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. They recently released a list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America on which two Switzer Fellows appear: Ayana Johnson and Regan Patterson.Read more >
Aug 3, 2020
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. Golden provided a framework for addressing the systemic issues that may explain and/or address those barriers.Read more >
Jun 9, 2020
Juan Reynoso is only the second person to have completed a new joint Master in Public Health (M.P.H.)/Master in Urban Planning (M.U.P.) degree program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The program allows students to pursue a transdisciplinary education in urban planning and public health and sharpen their understanding of key areas including policy, sustainability, and social determinants of health.Read more >

Spotlight on Leadership

Photo: Bryce Vickmark / MIT
Janelle Heslop is no shrinking violet. She found a voice for herself and the environment when she was in middle school, volunteering as a junior docent for the Hudson River Museum. Today, Heslop is honing her passion into skills in business and engineering through her second and final year of MIT’s Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program. The program provides two degrees: an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an SM from the School of Engineering, giving Heslop the foundation to pursue her dream of transforming businesses around their environmental impact. “You can make fun and interesting products that also take good care of our natural resources,” she says.Read more >

A vibrant community of environmental leaders