In December, three UC Berkeley graduate students were selected as Switzer Environmental fellows by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. This year, the program recognized 20 environmental leaders in nonprofit, public policy, business, academic and government sectors. Berkeley students Karen AndradeLara Cushing and Rachel Golden were each awarded a $15,000 merit-based fellowship to help them develop the skills and expertise to address today’s environmental challenges.

Rachel Golden
Graduate student Rachel Golden

Rachel Golden is pursuing a Master’s degree at the Goldman School of Public Policy and a Master’s degree in the interdisciplinary Energy and Resource Group. Golden is studying how policies can accelerate investment in and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency resources. She has worked with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9, California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission.

In September, Golden published a paper on California’s energy policy at the Switzer Foundation. Read her full paper, “Doing Your Laundry at 10 p.m.: How time-variant pricing can improve California’s energy system” at PolicyMatters Journal.

Golden says she is “very fortunate” to be a part of the Switzer network. She plans to use her fellowship to support her Master’s thesis on a policy analysis and recommendations for the California Governor’s Office on zero-emission vehicle policy in the Central Valley.

“The Switzer Foundation really invests in its fellows — not just financially, but also with many thoughtful and useful trainings, a mentorship program, webinars and other events, said Golden. Last year, the fellows enjoyed a leadership retreat and training in the Marin headlands, which she recalls as a “bonding and inspiring weekend.”

Karen Andrade is pursuing her Ph.D. at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management in the College of Natural Resources. She is credited with establishing the UC Berkeley Science Shop, a program that brings UC Berkeley students and researchers together in order to benefit the community. In 2013, the Science Shop was awarded first place in the Big Ideas@Berkeley contest. Her dissertation is focused on microbial communities and their ecology. Andrade is interested in building collaborations between her community and the scientific research.

Lara Cushing is pursuing her Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary Energy and Resource Group. A community organizer and advocate for environmental justice, Cushing aims to build awareness about the importance of social justice in environmental policy design. She has worked with grassroots movements for environmental justice and the California Environmental Protection Agency. Her dissertation focuses on the unequal health burden that climate change places on low-income communities and communities of color in the U.S.

For more information about leadership grants and the fellowship program, visit Switzer Foundation.

Categories: Honors and Awards, January 2015
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About Sarah McClure

Sarah McClure is a Master's candidate in the Graduate School of Journalism. She is studying multimedia journalism and covers the environment and Latin America.