Virtual Conference Highlights

Authored by Liz Plascencia (MEM Candidate, Class of 2022)

As a first-year Master of Environmental Management (MEM) candidate at the Yale School of Environment (YSE) in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s safe to say that this has been an incredibly unique semester. From virtual community building events, online trivia parties, and more, but I’m happy to share that our community is both creative and resilient.

YSE has been known to host internationally renowned leaders in the environmental field in the form of speaker series, panels, and conferences, and this semester was no different. If anything, we have been able to host more folks virtually by extending the invite to a wide range of individuals who may not have gotten the opportunity to visit us here…

Welcoming the newest YSE admissions ambassador, Liz Plascencia!

Authored by Liz Plascencia (MEM Candidate, Class of 2022)


My name is Liz Plascencia (she/her/hers) and I am a first-year Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from Los Angeles, California. As a Queer, Latinx, First-Generation Mexican American – I am extremely interested in the intersectionality of environmental issues while considering the nexus between climate solutions, racial equity, and justice. At the Yale School of Environment (YSE), I am specializing in Water Resource Science and Management. I am hoping to better understand coastal climate adaptation and mitigation planning efforts, while considering the_DSC5795 lens of environmental justice within urban populations.

Before coming to YSE, I was working on coastal stewardship through climate mitigation and adaptation in the South Pacific (i.e. Hawaiian…

With Paul Polman at COP25, Madrid, December 2019

Authored by Bipul Mayank (MEM Candidate, Class of 2021)

It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago on July 26th when I left India to begin my journey at Yale School of the Environment. The memory of my first day in New Haven kindles a sense of joy and accomplishment. After months of preparing my application and anxiously waiting to hear my admissions decision and the status of obtaining a U.S. Visa, I was finally starting a new experience. An experience that has provided me with a remarkable learning opportunity accompanied by the fantastic community.

First Semester: Key Learning Moments

In my first semester, I was embraced by a much welcoming group of young environmentalists coming from extremely diverse backgrounds. The point, however, where…

Authored by Viola Taubmann (MEM Candidate, 2021)

With the longest title among all MEM specializations, the name Ecosystems and Land Conservation and Management (ELCM) continued to raise confusion among students and employers alike (is it EMLC? ECML? What exactly does it stand for?). After consulting with students and faculty, the name has been changed to Ecosystems Conservation and Management.

Mark Bradford, the specialization coordinator, is confident that the simple change still captures the specialization’s breadth and depth, while being more easily used and understood. One of nine specializations, which all MEM students are required to choose, the Ecosystems Conservation and Management specialization provides a pathway for building student expertise to develop the scientific, cultural, ethical, financial and political means to conserve biological diversity and sustain ecological functions…

Covid & Commencement: A Virtual F&ES Graduation Ceremony

Authored by Sundara Bhandaram (MEM Graduate, Class of 2020)

I can definitively say that when I arrived at FES in Fall 2018, I did not imagine that my graduation would take place on a virtual landscape courtesy of a YouTube live stream. However, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has highlighted the vulnerabilities in the US health care system, the starkness of income inequality, and a lack of leadership, I feel incredibly fortunate to be healthy and safe. While this ending is bittersweet, I truly appreciate the thoughtfulness and compassion that I have seen from members of the FES community during the last two months. And so, while our virtual ceremony was not how I had imagined my graduation, I felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to celebrate the…

Quizzes during Quarantine: Community in a time of COVID

Authored by Sundara Bhandaram (MEM Candidate, Class of 2020)

Last Thursday, FESers from across the world got together for a virtual trivia session hosted by the FES Student Affairs Committee!

Trivia was co-hosted by the delightful Andie Creel, MESc Class of 2021, and the lovely Regina Harlig, MEM Class of 2020! The two ladies quizzed fellow peers, staff and faculty members about their knowledge of world politics, pop culture, environmental topics, FES history, and music.

There were 13 teams made of students, staff and faculty members with clever team names including  “Razzmatazz”, “Murder Hornets”, “The Woods!”, “Shakshuka on Fridays”, “Kareem’s Dream Team”, “Emerald Ash Borer Destroyers”, “Cruz Control”, and “69 Unread WhatsApp Messages”. Plus the “Bidet of Reckoning” and “Totally Wearing Pants rn” who won extra points for…

SAGE Stories

Authored by Sundara Bhandaram (MEM Candidate, Class of 2020)

“Thank Goodness I’m a Forester” has been an integral part of the social fabric of F&ES. As such, even within the bounds of social distancing the school has found a way for students to continue having TGIFs. This past Friday, members of the F&ES community got together for a Zoom TGIF session and were able to individually pick up free meals from local New Haven restaurants!

In addition to getting together to celebrate the end of the Semester, students were entertained by the first ever virtual rendition of “SAGE Stories”. Every semester SAGE Magazine holds a “SAGE Stories” storytelling series which allows the community comes together to listen, be heard, and connect. Each series has a unique theme which allows participants to hone and craft their stories…

The Power of Puzzles While Staying at Home

Authored by Taryn Akiyama (MEM Candidate, Class of 2021)

COVID-19 has altered many aspects of life for Yale F&ES students—attending virtual classes, wearing masks to the supermarket, staying six feet from others on the street—but it has especially transformed the nature of social connections.

F&ES is a uniquely close-knit community, so the global pandemic has significantly shifted how students engage. Forestry Club, which organizes community-wide social events, brainstormed ways to bring joy to students in lieu of Tacky Prom and the End of the Year Party, which had to be cancelled.


Figuring that others like me might turn to puzzles as a form of relaxation while indoors, I decided to create puzzles for the student body. It…

FES: Sustainable Finance in the Virtual Era

Authored by Sundara Bhandaram (MEM Candidate, Class of 2020)

As F&ES students returned from spring break to online courses, the community has found creative ways to continue engaging with industry thought leaders! This past Friday, the Business & Environment Learning Community hosted “Financing Sustainability: The Citi Bank Way”. This Zoom session was led by Bruce Schlein who is the Director of the Citi Impact Fund and F&ES alumn Eliza H. Eubank the Global Head of Environmental and Social Risk Management. They spoke with students about their experience working at the largest global bank on sustainable finance.

Prescribed Fire at Yale Myers Forest

Authored by Elizabeth Himschoot (MEM candidate, Class of 2021)

While some students might think spring break is for late mornings and relaxation, some opportunities are too good to pass up when they present themselves, even with an early morning start. Prescribed burns are weather-dependent and can be difficult for students to attend during the normal academic calendar. So, after a short, early morning drive to the Yale Myers Forest, our team of student volunteers strapped water tanks to our backs and completed a thorough safety briefing. Under the direction of trained professionals, we then slowly ignited a meadow, contributing to its nutrient cycling and habitat diversity while selectively managing for Oak and Hickory regeneration.