Fellows and Future Environmental Leaders

2020 pofahl katie
Katie Pofahl ’21 MEM
2020 stewart ashley
Ashley Stewart ’21 MEM

Two students from the Yale School of the Environment (YSE) have been named recipients of Switzer Environmental Fellowships, a prestigious program that supports future environmental leaders.

Katie Pofahl ’21 MEM and Ashley Stewart ’21 MEM were among 20 students to receive the fellowships, which are presented by the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that invests in individuals and organizations that drive positive environmental change across a range of disciplines. Fellows are selected from universities across New England and California.

During their fellowship year, the 2020 Switzer Fellows will receive training in personal leadership skills focused on advancing social equity, and they will complete an intensive policy training that culminates in fellows developing relationships and sharing their expertise with decision makers in Washington, D.C.

Although she was raised in the Midwest, Katie Pofahl ‘21 MEM says she feels most comfortable in the American West — her “classroom, church, and home.” Before coming to YSE, Pofahl worked as a community outreach manager at an accredited land trust in California, engaging locals in conservation efforts, and served on the board of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. She has continued to engage with conservation issues in the West while at YSE through the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative, and earned a prestigious Wyss Scholarship that supports emerging leaders in western land conservation.

Before coming to Yale, Ashley Stewart ’21 MEM spent more than a decade as an environmental engineer and project manager with an emphasis on water management. Stewart, who grew up in Connecticut, has explored ways to co-create engineered solutions. She has integrated her training as a race dialogue facilitator into her environmental management practice, working with local communities to implement equity into their municipal processes and environmental sustainability projects. She has also worked to support equitable local planning, protect the state through management of dams, and organize community outreach. At YSE, she is conducting research on equity and environmental decision-making that involves marginalized groups with an emphasis on the Black community, incorporating qualitative data collection to inform technical solutions.

Among the other 2020 Switzer Fellows are Camila Bustos, a Yale Law School student working at the intersection of human rights and climate change, and Gillian Lui, a student at the Yale School of Management who is committed to advancing interdisciplinary climate change mitigation solutions.

To find out more about the Switzer Fellowship: https://www.switzernetwork.org/become-fellow

PUBLISHED: September 10, 2020
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.