Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Where Are They Now?

Voss Environmental Fellows graduate with a unique set of research and communication skills, preparing them to dive into a variety of different post-graduate roles. Read on to learn more about the ways that Voss program has influenced former Fellows' lives after Brown.

Name and Graduation Year: Ariana Spawn, Class of 2011

What did you find most valuable during your time as a Voss Environmental Fellow?
The fellowship was most valuable to me because of its call to look beyond science to effect environmental change; as an undergraduate biology major, I would not have learned about the importance of communication and the need for meaningful science-policy linkages if not for the Voss program.

What are you doing now?
I am currently finishing my master's degree in Environmental Management at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, which I began in 2014 after several years working on coastal and marine law and policy in Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA.

How did your experience as a Voss Environmental Fellow influence or impact your life after Brown? 
The fellowship was pivotal in determining my post-college trajectory. I transitioned into environmental policy work after Brown directly because of my experience conducting policy-relevant research with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and because of the emphasis on using science to inform policy in the Voss spring seminar. Those experiences were a huge asset in my job search and later in my graduate school search, and I continue to use the policy strategies and science communication techniques we learned through Voss in my work today. 


 

Name and Graduation Year: Allie Reilly, Class of 2015 

What did you find most valuable during your time as a Voss Environmental Fellow?
As a Voss Environmental Fellow I had the freedom and autonomy to craft a research project that I was passionate about. This experience helped me to develop the skills necessary to perform high quality research. More importantly, this fellowship provided me with a community of researchers to grow with and learn from, especially when it came to communicating our science at the end of the year. 

What are you doing now? 
I am currently doing a year of service through AmeriCorps VISTA at the United Way of Rhode Island. I am supporting after school professionals in the state who offer science-based programs to help provide youth with the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. 

How did your experience as a Voss Environmental Fellow influence or impact your life after Brown?
My current work with AmeriCorps often requires me to think about science communication and how educators present topics to engage youth. Communication was a key element of the Voss Environmental Fellows program, and I often turn to the material I learned from my experience as a fellow. As well, I believe that participating in this fellowship helped me to develop the confidence to someday pursue an advanced degree and complete a strong dissertation. I am already eager to participate in a graduate program in order to more deeply think through the themes evoked in my research project.  


 

Name and Graduation Year: Alyssa Browning-Gray, Class of 2015

What did you find most valuable during your time as a Voss Environmental Fellow?
My time as a Voss Environmental Fellow provided my first real taste of field ecology. I could study and discuss theories, methodology, and statistics to my heart's content, but nothing quite prepared me for the days of bad weather, wild animals, and unforeseen interference. With such a supportive professor as Heather Leslie, Voss was a great avenue to jump into the trial by fire.

What are you doing now? 
I am currently the Climate Justice Intern for the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. I work to create and support programming for MA's ~360 UCC congregations, with the overall goal of empowering them to take action on climate and environmental justice through personal, financial, and political decisions.  A large portion of my position entails giving guest sermons, organizing and participating in events, and writing content for web pages, newsletters, blogs, and the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast.

How did your experience as a Voss Environmental Fellow influence or impact your life after Brown?
As a Voss Environmental Fellow, I realized how important the role of community action was to me. I learned that my skills lay more in the boundary area of science communication than in science itself. My less than perfect experience led me to recognize a calling to ministry, and the journey has served as an amazing life lesson that my employer and mentors are impressed I've had by the tender age of 22.

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