Doris Duke Conservation Fellows 2010

Master’s Students Earn Prestigious Doris Duke Conservation Fellowships

Five members of the class of 2011 at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management have been named Doris Duke Conservation Fellows for 2010-2011.

Sarah Amspacher, Serra Hoagland, Heather Lahr, Carrie Sanneman, and Anderson Shepard were chosen from among 35 Bren applicants to the program (biographies and photos appear below). The Bren School is one of only eight institutions in the United States to have received DDCF fellowships. The others are Yale, Duke, Cornell, Florida A&M, and Northern Arizona universities and the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin. A national advisory committee oversees the invitation-only university competition.

Each Fellow will receive full tuition for one year (up to $26,000 per year) plus a $5,000 stipend to cover the cost of a summer internship. In addition, the Bren School will receive $5,000 to enhance its career-development program, and the Duke Fellows as a group will be receive funds to host a public event related to their environmental studies.

The Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship program was created in 1997 to identify and support future conservation leaders. The fellowship supports students who are enrolled in multidisciplinary master’s programs at partner universities and are committed to careers as practicing conservationists.


Bren School Doris Duke Conservation Fellows, 2010-2011

Sarah Amspacher
Sarah graduated from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., in 2003 with a BS in environmental science. She spent the next three years traveling and volunteering across the United States, working with organizations such as the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, The Florida National Scenic Trail Association, The Northwest Service Academy, and the USDA Forest Service. In 2006 Sarah was hired by the Forest Service as a kayak wilderness ranger for Misty Fiords National Monument & Wilderness in southeastern Alaska, and later as a wilderness ranger for the Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District in central Oregon. She has also worked as a sea-kayaking instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, and has paddled much of the Pacific Northwest's coastline.

Sarah has a keen interest in public-land-management policy, particularly as it relates to the development of renewable energy on public lands. At the Bren School she is specialization in the Economics & Politics of the Environment. For her master's thesis project, she is working with the international company AECOM on utility-scale solar-power-technology selection for the California desert ecosystem. Sarah will serve her summer internship in Portland, Ore., working with Portland State University and Nissan on the Electric Vehicle Roadmap Project. Her postgraduate career goal is to contribute to the sustainable management of our nation's public lands.


Serra Hoagland
Serra grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Placerville, Calif., and earned a BS in ecology and systematic biology from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. She is Laguna Pueblo from the village of Paguate, N.M., and has strong ties to her heritage, remaining active in her American Indian community at the local, regional, and national levels. Serra led the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) chapter at Cal Poly for two years and recently established an AISES chapter at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). The chapter provides leadership opportunities, professional-development workshops, and cultural activities for American Indian students.

After graduating from Cal Poly, Serra worked for the National Park Service at Padre Island National Seashore and monitored endangered nesting Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Her academic interests include wildlife biology, ecology, conservation planning, and threatened and endangered species management. Serra hopes to work in the field with wildlife populations, preserving critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, restoring the quality of our environment, and substantially increasing the number of American Indian environmental professionals.


Heather Lahr
Heather Lahr grew up in Southern California, where trips to local beaches and Catalina Island fueled her love for the ocean. After graduating from Graceland University (Lamoni, Iowa) with a BS in biology, she traveled to Zambia with the U.S. Peace Corps, working with rural farmers to develop a sustainable source of protein through aquaculture practices. She and other volunteers also created the National Gender and Development Committee, which aims to empower girls and women through a life-skills training program. Heather then served as a Peace Corps volunteer coordinator, working with local government officials to place Peace Corps volunteers in villages eastern Zambia.

Upon returning to the U.S., Heather taught at an outdoor marine science camp and then pursued her interest in animal husbandry as an aquarist at aquariums across the country. While working for the Ty Warner Sea Center in Santa Barbara, she and a post-doc from the University of Hawaii created the Sustainable Seafood Restaurant Program aimed at increasing the availability of sustainable seafood. At the Bren School, Heather is researching sustainable offshore shrimp aquaculture in Mexico and specializing in coastal marine resources management. She will spend the summer working with the nonprofit organization Oceana on seafood traceability issues through their seafood fraud campaign.


Carrie Sanneman
Carrie is specializing in conservation planning at UCSB’s Bren School for Environmental Science & Management. She is particularly interested in management processes that integrate multiple stakeholders and work across boundaries to solve complex environmental problems on public lands. She looks forward to a career aimed at strengthening the western tradition of melding community and resource management. In the summer of 2010, Carrie will be working with The Nature Conservancy to develop strategies for preventing and responding to the introduction of non-native species on TNC’s Santa Cruz Island preserve and in Channel Islands National Park.

Prior to joining the Bren School, Carrie gained leadership experience and a deep respect for our nation’s public resources as a part of Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and by building trails and restoring damaged landscapes across the West for nonprofit organizations. Carrie graduated with high honors from Iowa State University, obtaining degrees in biology and environmental studies. She has worked in research laboratories and performed fieldwork focusing on evolutionary endocrinology and wetlands conservation.


Anderson Shepard
Anderson is a native of western Colorado and has spent most of his life working, playing, and studying along the high-elevation spine of the Rockies. He graduated from Colorado College with a BA in biology in 2004 and spent the next years working seasonally as a field biologist, traveling abroad, and teaching cross-country skiing in Bozeman, Mont. Having born witness to many of the ecological effects of land-use change in the West, Anderson became passionate about working to conserve both the region’s natural and cultural landscapes. These interests led him to the Bren School, where he is focusing on conservation planning and water resources management. He will be interning this summer with Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy, investigating the intersections and conflicts between viticulture, climate change, and biodiversity conservation.