Leadership Stories

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 >
May 27, 2020
Like time and money, water in the West is often characterized by too much demand chasing too little supply. In response to such scarcity, water conservation seems the obvious, environmentally-friendly strategy to achieve the same outcome-a green lawn, food and fiber, or a hot shower-while using less water. Give water users the means to use less, and with any luck, they actually will. But such freedom can also inadvertently lead to more water use, whether that's via lush landscaping, more crops on marginal lands, or longer showers. How do we balance supply with demand to solve this problem?Read more >
May 27, 2020
Much of the opposition to genetically engineered organisms has emerged from within the environmental movement, but what happens when a new biotechnology has an explicit goal of environmental conservation? An international consortium is investigating the potential deployment of an engineered mouse on islands where invasive mice threaten biodiversity. Theoretically, the mouse would "drive" the population to be all male, crashing the mouse population and leading to eradication without the use of environmentally-risky toxicants. But even testing such a technology, known as a "gene drive," has ecological risks. How do we decide how to proceed in a way that minimizes risk?Read more >

Spotlight on Leadership

Nithya Ramanathan and ColdTrace: Why monitor vaccine temperatures?
Before routine childhood vaccinations large numbers of people used to contract diseases like TB and polio with often devastating consequences. Now vaccinations are standardized and have virtually eradicated many of the health problems that used to run rife through populations. However, there is one problem. Despite a concerted effort on the part of health workers and decent supply of vaccinations, power issues in emerging regions often means these vaccinations - which require refrigeration - get spoiled. This is where ColdTrace from Nexleaf Analytics offers a solution.Read more >

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