Student Support

Supporting Students at the Bren School

The Bren School views the task of preparing the next generation of environmental leaders as a fundamental responsibility. An commitment to assisting students is one of the keys to the school's continued excellence, and an area where donors can have a personal impact on individual lives.

Students who received donor-funded, merit-based support are among the most outstanding members of their class and often emerge as some of our most important community leaders and innovators. Their acceptance of candidacy at the Bren School is due, in part, to donors who provided funding that enabled the Bren School to successfully compete with other top programs in the nation for these superb PhD and master’s candidates.

Deckers Fellowship recipients

Deckers Outdoor Corporation President and CEO Angel Martinez (center, back row) surrounded by (clockwise from from left) Deckers senior staff members Michelle Apodaca and Mark Heintz; Bren PhD students Eric Edwards, Theresa Nogeire, and Ngoc Hoang; and Deckers senior staff member Gabriella Montgomery. The students were recipients of Deckers Outdoor Corporation Fellowships, made possible by a generous endowment from the company.
See more gifts in action.

Supporting a Bren PhD Student

The Bren School is proud to be among a handful of universities worldwide that offer a PhD in the emerging interdisciplinary field of Environmental Science & Management. We view this work as critical to the future of the planet, and yet, our faculty and students are often challenged to support their leading-edge research because well-established sources of traditional disciplinary funding are not yet available to support novel interdisciplinary approaches to creating environmental solutions. 

One of our greatest needs at the Bren School is fellowship funding to recruit the best and brightest applicants to our PhD program. The university competes with the nation’s top institutions for the very best advanced-degree candidates. Recruitment packages that guarantee at least five years of funding, including support for research, are now essential to compete with the top-ranked programs for the most promising students.

Named Full or Partial Endowed PhD Fellowship

A Full or partial Endowed PhD Fellowship at the Bren School is a highly prestigious endowment that would permanently associate a donor’s name with the Bren School and the University of California Santa Barbara. It is one of the highest priorities of the school and the university. A named full or partial endowed fellowship would provide funding for a student and support summer research to facilitate progress toward completing their dissertation. An endowed graduate student fellowship will ensures that the Bren School has the resources to attract and retain the most outstanding students in the future. A fellowship at this level would raise the national profile of the Bren School.

Named Partial Endowed PhD Award                                    

A named Endowed PhD Award at the Bren School would support an annual award coupled with institutional funds to help recruit and support top PhD students. In addition, this recruitment fund may also support summer research to facilitate students' progress toward completing their dissertations. This funding would help to top off funding packages offered to potential graduate students, or it may be used to support the ongoing research and travel of current Bren graduate students.

Contribute any amount to the Bren School’s Endowment for Student Support

The School’s Endowment for Student Support enables the Bren School to recruit and/or support outstanding PhD and master’s studenst every year. Funds from the endowment may be offered alone, coupled with other institutional resources, or offered as summer funding for dissertation research. Gifts of all sizes are most welcome! Learn more about Making a Gift.

What does it take to support a Bren graduate student?

Mandatory Academic Fees: $13,115

Non-resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST): $15,102

Health Insurance: $2,772

Estimated Cost of Living (rent, food, books, etc.): $24,000

Total Resident: $39,887

Total Non-Resident: $54,989

*Please note that University of California fees, NRST, and health insurance are subject to yearly increases.

Fellowship: A gift of $10,600 or more establishes a prestigious one-year named Fellowship. You may endow this fellowship in perpetuity with a one-time gift of $212,000.

Award: A gift of $5,300+ establishes a one-year named Award. You may endow this award in perpetuity with a one-time gift of $106,000.

Prize: A gift of $2,650+ establishes a one-year named Prize. You may endow this award in perpetuity with a one-time gift of $53,000.

Endowments make possible named support in perpetuity and ensure the excellence of the school's student body for years to come. For information about making a gift of student support, please contact Patti Winans at (805) 893-4589 or send her e-mail.

Learn about options for Making a Gift!

Fellowship recipients
Tim Cohen, Vice-President, URS Corporation (center) with Jane Cartwright (left) and Renee Callahan, both MESM 2011. (Not pictured: Janey Cohen.) Jane Cartwright is the recipient of the Tim and Janey Cohen Summer Internship Fellowship.?? Renee Callahan is the recipient of the John T. Gray Memorial Summer Internship. Tim Cohen leads the awards from the John T. Gray Memorial Fund, an endowment at the UC Santa Barbara Foundation established by URS employees and friends to honor the memory of their colleague John Gray. Photograph by Jim Boyden

Master's Student Support

As one of the top three programs of its kind in the nation, the Bren School is emerging as the preeminent institution for the education of solution-oriented professionals trained in a comprehensive, balanced, interdisciplinary approach to Environmental Science & Management.

Bren students are part of the next generation of environmental leaders. We view the process of teaching and training these individuals as a fundamental responsibility that reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring a sustainable future. Strong, consistent support for students is a key to the Bren School’s continued excellence; it is also an area in which we provide corporations, foundations, and individuals with the opportunity to have a direct and powerful impact on individual lives. Fellowships are essential to attracting and retaining the brightest students, and endowed fellowships are especially valuable in ensuring that the School can attract top scholars now and far into the future.

In the past two years, the cost of a graduate education nation-wide has increased significantly. The Bren School seeks support to extend fellowships that offset most or all of the tuition for outstanding students and those having the greatest need.

Named Summer Internship Fellowships

Internship participants

The Bren School places a strong emphasis on professional experience and expects all master’s students to complete internships between their first and second year of study. Summer internships provide an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom, gain valuable work experience, and make key contacts in the field—locally, nationally and internationally. Over the years, many internships have been instrumental in helping students locate career positions after graduation.

Because summer internships often come with low or no pay , fellowships are essential and greatly appreciated.

Summer Internship Fellowships are competitive and are awarded by the Bren School’s Office of Career Development in the spring of a Bren student’s first year. Fellowship donors are notified of their student recipients at that time and learn about the internship on which the students will embark. Then, in the fall, donors are invited to meet their students at the Annual Awards Dinner where they learn first hand about the work and experience they helped make possible.

Bren alumnus Mel Willis (left, MESM '99, PhD '03) and Dannie Willis (right) with Nicole Stern, MESM '11 , UCSB BA '71, BA '93, and '00). The Mel and Dani Willis Summer Internship makes possible an annual summer internship for an outstanding master's student who demonstrates both merit and need.

Establish a Named Summer Internship Fellowship for $1,325.

For information about making a gift of student support, please contact Patti Winans at (805) 893-4589 or send her e-mail.


Donor Donna Diehlsen and master's sutdent Milena Viljoen

Photograph by Jim Boyden

Donor Deanna Dehlsen with recipient of the Deanna and Jim Dehlsen Award, Milena Viljoen '09.

Milena earned her BS in Biology with a concentration in Animal Behavior from Duke University in 2001. Prior to coming to the Bren School, she was a communications and outreach specialist at I.M. Systems Group in Long Beach, Calif., and also an Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education Fellow with the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center (NOAA), also in Long Beach. While at the Bren School, Milena specialized in Conservation Planning and Coastal Marine Resources Management. She is currently employed at IMSG and working as a contractor with NOAA. She is focusing on GIS/resource risk assessment and ecosystem planning and community-based restoration.

Dana Carlson Severy Award
Donor Dana Carlson Severy
with 2008 Award Recipient Leslie Abramson

Leslie Mara Abramson( ‘09) earned her BA in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University in 2000. Prior to coming to the Bren School, she was an Able-Bodied Seaman on the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ship Rainier and Third Mate on the SV Corwith Cramer. Currently, Leslie is in Alaska working with the Prince William Sound Science Center in Cordova. She been selected as a Knauss Marine Policy Legislative Fellow through Sea Grant and will be starting her new assignment in Washington, D.C. in Jan 2010.


The Bren School is grateful for support from individuals, foundations, and corporations.


donor Dana Carlson and master's student Leslie Mara Abramson

Photograph by Jim Boyden