This Switzer Fellowship — an honor given to promising graduate students studying environmental issues from New England and California — will have four Yalies among their cohort of 20 fellows.
Katie Pofahl ENV ’21, Ashley Stewart ENV ’21, Camila Bustos LAW ’21 and Gillian Lui SOM ’21 will receive a $15,000 cash award, professional development opportunities and access to a network of nearly 700 fellowship alumni, according to the fellowship’s website. Representing three of Yale’s professional schools among them, three of the fellows said they plan to incorporate what they learn from Switzer into their respective disciplines.
“It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m committed to fighting climate change, particularly through the lens of private sector engagement,” Lui wrote in an email to the News. “Being able to pursue my work and scholarship with the support of The Switzer Foundation and its inspiring community of environmental professionals is an opportunity that I don’t take for granted, especially at this moment in time when our lives can feel more isolated than ever.”
Lui added that she looks forward to working with the foundation’s network to craft interdisciplinary solutions to pressing environmental issues and contribute to the network’s legacy of changemaking.
Katie Pofahl said that she, too, is excited to join Switzer’s community of environmental leaders and added that it feels good to know that people believe in her. After finishing her program, she plans to take the land management techniques she studied at the Yale School of the Environment and enact these practices across important natural areas, particularly those in rural communities. She aspires to a leadership role in nonprofit management, particularly in the Western United States.
Of her co-fellows, Pofahl commented that each has different takes on the types of change they hope to make in the environmental sector. For Camila Bustos of the Yale Law School, this means focusing on how the law can affect change for communities most vulnerable to environmental injustices.
“The fellowship will support my work as a law student, learning and working towards holding governments and corporations accountable for their human rights obligations as they relate to the environment,” Bustos wrote in an email to the News. “I hope the fellowship allows me to connect and learn from different disciplines in order to reimagine how the law can be used as a tool to create more effective change, particularly in support of communities of color disproportionally burdened by environmental harms.”
The Switzer Foundation initiated its fellowship program in 1986.