Wyss Scholars Program Supports Future
Western Conservation Leaders at Yale

The Wyss Foundation, a charitable organization that supports land conservation in the American West, has selected three Yale students as 2019 Wyss Scholars — Eve Barnett ’20 M.E.M., Julia Sullivan ’20 M.E.M., and Kelly McClure ’21 J.D.
The Wyss Scholars Program supports graduate-level education for the next generation of leaders in western land conservation. The recipients will receive tuition, internships, and post-graduate support as part of the program.
This year’s scholars were recognized for their leadership potential and devotion to land conservation in the western United States.
Wyss Scholars are engaged in a variety of issues including land conservation and stewardship, environmental policy, field ecology, fire science and management, and forestry. They are working for nonprofit organizations like The Nature Conservancy and for governmental organizations like the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service.
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Eve Barnett

One of this year’s recipients, Eve Barnett, says she’d always loved the outdoors. She decided to pursue a career in environmental work as an undergraduate at Princeton University, where she studied federal agencies’ approaches to stewardship and wrote a 100-page thesis on the National Park Service. By the time she graduated, she could envision a way to channel her love of the outdoors into a life of public service.

After Princeton, she worked seasonally for the National Park Service and gained field experience. As a wilderness ranger, she patrolled trails; as a wilderness fellow, she worked on a stewardship plan. After her first assignment at Kings Canyon National Park, she moved to Mount Rainier National Park, where she was invited to write about the park’s wilderness and help with a long-term planning effort. As the interdisciplinary wilderness coordinator, she facilitated meetings and workshops to build consensus. “Some days were challenging — I had to be precise and assertive in rooms of rangers and scientists,” she says. “But all days were satisfying, and many were exhilarating."

Barnett says she came to F&ES to study environmental policy and develop news skills. She has also taken  extracurricular leadership positions that she hopes will help her promote inclusivity, gender equality, and sustainability in public lands once she graduates.

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Julia Sullivan
Julia Sullivan, a first-year student at F&ES, says she spent her formative years exploring the forests and lakes of New England, an experience that inspired her commitment to conservation that so far has led her to Washington, D.C., Central America and, most recently, the American Southwest. After completing her undergraduate degree at American University, she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Panama Canal watershed where she worked alongside Panamanians and in collaboration with agency representatives to advance a suite of projects focused on the protection of the watershed.
Upon returning to the U.S., Sullivan spent a year with the Grand Canyon Trust, coordinating strategic conservation projects across the Colorado Plateau in partnership with local students, the National Forest Service, and tribal communities.
Sullivan is focusing her coursework on water resource science and management, land use and conservation planning, and energy development as it relates to water use and contamination. After graduation she expects to return to the Southwest to launch her career at a non-profit conservation organization advocating for the protection of western landscapes and their inhabitants.
“For two years, I lived and worked in the Panama Canal Watershed,” she says. “This experience piqued my interest in the overlap between land conservation and water resource management — an interest I have been following ever since. As my Peace Corps service concluded in early 2017, I felt a mounting urgency to address conservation issues in my own country, and the pull of western landscapes — with all their complexity — was strong.”
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Kelly McClure
Kelly McClure is a first-year student at Yale Law School. Kelly is passionate about promoting water and land conservation, and she has spent the last decade working to advance these efforts at the state, national, and international levels. Prior to law school, Kelly’s environmental and conservation efforts involved co-drafting legislation to protect black bear habitats and promoting legislation to protect wetlands. As a United Nations Delegate, she leveraged her position to bring awareness to international land management and easement policies. Through her work as a White House Gen-I Fellow, she has also worked to promote conservation policies nationally. Kelly’s advocacy has also extended to projects in India, Mexico, and Jamaica.

She said she is "honored to have been selected as a Wyss Scholar and, as a first-generation college student and a first-generation professional, I am grateful to the Foundation for supporting my career and leadership development.”

Kelly is a graduate of Cornell University, where she received her Bachelor of Science. At Yale, she currently serves as a Lead Submissions Editor for the Yale Journal of Law and Technology and a Lead Editor for the Yale Journal on Regulation. She is the incoming Co-President of the First Generation Professionals at Yale Law School.
PUBLISHED: March 22, 2019
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.