Lapham Fellowship Testimonials
Over the past year and a half, I have had the privilege of being the Anthony A. Lapham Conservation Fellow. I entered the fellowship from an academic research setting deeply rooted in aquatic ecology. After conducting scientific research, I was looking for an applied avenue to gain policy experience. Essentially, I wanted to remain a scientist but apply my skills to exploring solutions to freshwater management issues that are often not fully investigated in a strictly academic setting. The Lapham Fellowship has been instrumental in advancing my knowledge of environmental policy, affording me the opportunity to combine my academic background with applied policy expertise.
The majority of my work focuses on policies surrounding protection or restoration of small streams. Whether through research on specific issues regarding how headwater streams are defined within the Clean Water Act, increasing the knowledge base around urban stream daylighting, or researching topics regarding stormwater effects on water quality and how green infrastructure can solve these problems, I am consistently applying my scientific expertise to policy questions.
I have gained invaluable training on federal politics, policy initiatives, and the inner workings of a national nonprofit. I have worked with staff experts in conservation, communications, development, and government relations both within American Rivers and other environmental organizations, while also interacting with officials across the spectrum of federal, natural resource agencies. I have had numerous opportunities to attend seminars and courses (a huge advantage to being a Fellow), all of which enhance my understanding of environmental law and policy.
Most importantly, I have learned the value of communicating science effectively. In order to be most effective, scientists must inform stakeholders of our research in an applied, illustrative way. The training I have received through the Lapham Fellowship has made me an adaptable scientist with not only academic expertise but real world knowledge of policy implementation.
If you are looking to extend your graduate education into the applied policy arena, while also using your scientific expertise to contribute to a mission to protect and restore clean water, the Anthony A. Lapham Conservation Fellowship should definitely be considered.
- Banking on Green [PDF]
I was not the typical Lapham Fellow. I worked for American Rivers before becoming a fellow and stayed with the organization for a couple years afterwards. It was a great experience nonetheless and gave me the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day work I had been doing and think broadly about some of the big water management challenges the nation is facing.
I worked on groundbreaking report describing how communities can adapt their water management strategies to a changing climate. It was a challenging project, but the rewards were great. The report was the focus of a Congressional briefing and formed a foundation for American Rivers’ advocacy work on climate adaptation for the next several years. Most notably, it informed our lobbying on climate legislation in the House and Senate in 2009 and helped with a successful campaign to include sustainable water management approaches in those bills.
I left American Rivers in 2011 in order to pursue and MBA at the Haas School of Business. I am hoping to find ways to promote more effective water management and climate change adaptation in the private sector. I will complete my degree in 2013, and my post-graduation role is yet to be determined. Either way, the skills and experience I gained through the Lapham Fellowship have prepared me well for the next big challenge.