Dr. Hope Jahren, a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaiʻi of Mānoa's School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology, has been selected as one of 20 environmental scientists that have been selected for the prestigious 2011 Leopold Leadership Fellowship Program.
Jahren’s research focuses on living and fossil organisms, and how they are chemically linked to the global environment. Using measurements of the stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen, Jahren and her research group are working to elucidate information about metabolism and environment, both in the human environment, and through geologic time.
"As a Leopold Leadership Fellow, I am going to make a special effort to learn about ways in which I can advocate for the ecosystems of Hawaiʻi,” says Jahren. “As the only tropical environment in the United States, Hawaiʻi deserves special recognition and consideration. I'd like to explore new and creative ways to keep delivering this message to Washington, D.C."
Based at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, the Leopold Leadership Program was founded in 1998 to help academic scientists make their knowledge accessible to decision makers. Each year the program selects up to 20 mid-career academic environmental researchers as fellows. They receive intensive leadership and communications training to help them engage effectively with policymakers, journalists, business leaders, and communities confronting complex decisions about sustainability and the environment.
"These twenty outstanding researchers are change agents engaged in cutting-edge research," said Pam Sturner, executive director of the Leopold Leadership Program. "Through our program, they will gain new skills and connections to help them translate their knowledge into action at the regional, national, and international level."
The 2011 fellows come from a wide range of disciplines, including marine science, ecology, engineering, geography, economics, behavioral science, and political science. They will join a network of 153 past fellows who are actively working to infuse the best research into public and private sector discussions about the environment.
The fellows were chosen for their outstanding qualifications as researchers, demonstrated leadership ability, and strong interest in communicating beyond traditional academic audiences. Each fellow participates in two week-long training sessions that include practice media interviews and meeting with policymakers in Washington, D.C. The fellowship also offers peer networking and mentoring through the Leopold Leadership Network of program advisors, trainers, and past fellows.
"Academic scientists work hard to understand environmental problems and to develop potential solutions, but to actually solve problems requires communication and a two-way flow of information between scientists and decision makers," said Pamela Matson, Dean of Stanford University's School of Earth Sciences and Scientific Director of the program. "The Leopold Leadership Program trains academics to close the gap between knowledge and action."