Doris Duke Fellows

Ashley Conrad-Saydah

Spring 2007


  Students Break New Ground as Doris Duke Fellows


BREN students Ashley Conrad-Saydah, Kavita Heyn, Evan Johnson, Dominique Monié, and Erin Myers (all MESM ’08) became the first at both the Bren School and UC Santa Barbara to win prestigious Doris Duke Conservation Fellowships. Each will each receive full tuition for one year (to a maximum of $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 will be provided with funds to host a public event related to their environmental studies.

“It is a privilege to be supported by such an esteemed program as the Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship,” said Kavita Heyn, echoing sentiments expressed by others in the group. “The fellowship allows me to explore conservation issues in ways I wouldn’t have been able to without it.”

Heyn is spending the summer in Nepal, working on community conservation as an intern for an international organization, an opportunity afforded by the fellowship.

The Bren students’ selection puts UCSB in elite company as one of only eight university programs in the United States to host the Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship program for the next two years. The other host schools are Cornell University, Duke University, Florida A&M University, Northern Arizona University, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Yale University.

“Serving as a host university for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Fellowships is a great honor afforded only to a small number of very fine institutions,” said Bren School Dean Ernst von Weizsäcker. “The Foundation’s commitment to conservation is renowned. We are very pleased to have been included in their important efforts to educate the next generation of environmental leaders.”

For Ashley Conrad-Saydah, the fellowship served as further affirmation of her choice to pursue a master of Environmental Science & Management degree as opposed to a more narrowly focused degree.

“As an undergraduate and also as a working professional, my interests in cultivating community-oriented approaches to conservation were on the fringe of the more traditional career paths followed by my peers in biology, engineering, and medicine,” she said. “I followed my untraditional path despite warnings that jobs were limited and specialists in one particular field of science are more successful. The Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship validates my interests and passions. I greatly appreciate the freedom it affords me to develop tools to practice conservation effectively.”

Kavita Heyn

Evan Johnson

Dominique Monié

Erin Myers