CFAES Give Today

Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Dr. Sathya Gopalakrishnan chosen for 2021 North American cohort of leading sustainability scientists

Jan. 26, 2021

In the midst of cascading crises from climate change to biodiversity loss and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Earth Leadership Program – the global successor to the renowned Leopold Leadership Program, now in partnership with Future Earth – has announced its 2021-22 North American cohort.

The Earth Leadership Program provides outstanding academic researchers with the skills, approaches, and theoretical frameworks for catalyzing change to address the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges, emphasizing new forms of individual and collective leadership. The program enables scientists to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders and become agents of change within and beyond their universities.

This year’s North America cohort is composed of 21 passionate academics working within a wide array of disciplines related to sustainability, from marine biology to atmospheric chemistry, governance, and economics. The fellows, who come from 11 U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico, are committed to pursuing transdisciplinary work that brings together scientific disciplines, government representatives, private sector voices, and civil society to build a more sustainable future for all.

The full list of fellows for the 2021 North American Cohort of the Earth Leadership Program is:

Sathya Gopalakrishnan, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University
S. Gopalakrishnan

Ines Arroyo-Quiroz, Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias (CRIM), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Natalie Ban, University of Victoria
Nandita Basu, University of Waterloo
Cayelan Carey, Virginia Tech
Andres Clarens, University of Virginia Tech
Sarah Evans, Michigan State University
Valerie Eviner, University of California, Davis
Rachelle Gould, University of Vermont
Stephanie Green, University of Alberta
Anne Randall Hughes, Northeastern University
Bonnie Keeler, University of Minnesota
John Lin, University of Utah
Damon Matthews, Concordia University
Pamela McElwee, Rutgers University
Terry McGlynn, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Tuyeni H. Mwampamba, Institute for Ecosystems and Sustainability Research, UNAM Campus Morelia
Malin Pinsky, Rutgers University
Sara Soderstrom, University of Michigan
Ashlynn Stillwell, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rodrigo Vargas, University of Delaware

“This year’s selection of fellows consists of leading environmental champions from a broad range of disciplines and institutions across North America,” says Dr. Sharon Collinge, Executive Director of the Earth Leadership Program. “We look forward to working with each of them to accelerate and deepen the science that will promote equitable transitions to sustainability, both in their home countries and around the world.”

The Earth Leadership Program’s fellowship training model is built around a collaborative approach that values co-design with diverse stakeholders, and prepares participants to develop and execute transdisciplinary projects. As fellows, the cohort first comes together for a retreat training session that focuses on leadership skills, community-building, and personal reflection. The fellows then spend a year practicing and applying their new knowledge and skills. The following June, the fellows reconvene in a final session to integrate their learning from the practice year, learn new tools, and articulate to each other their refined visions for knowledge to impact.

“This year’s cohort faces the novel challenges of an ongoing pandemic alongside a worsening climate crisis and unprecedented biodiversity loss,” says Josh Tewksbury, Interim Executive Director of Future Earth, the Earth Leadership Program’s hosting organization. “To restore our deteriorating relationship with nature, we’ll need versatile sustainability leaders deeply embedded within the scientific community – and that’s exactly what the Earth Leadership Program was designed to promote.”

About the Earth Leadership Program

After 20 years of success in training over 200 sustainability leaders in North America, the Leopold Leadership Program re-launched as the Earth Leadership Program in March 2020. The new program is a partnership between Future Earth, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the University of Colorado Boulder, and the new program aims to support regional networks of collaborative academic leaders around the world, as well as in North America, and to connect these networks under a common purpose.

The Earth Leadership Program remains committed to the fundamental principles that have made the Leopold Leadership Program so transformative: interdisciplinary learning, building future leaders empowered to collaborate and innovate, and strengthening the connections among scholars – past, present, and future – in the service of solution-focused, engaged sustainability research.

The Earth Leadership Program is led by Dr. Sharon Collinge, a 2004 Leopold Leadership Fellow and full professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Over the next year, the structure of the Earth Leadership Program will continue to evolve as it seeks to build greater connections among existing fellows, bring new fellows into the program, and build new programs around the world.