Ph.D. Candidate Receives Switzer Foundation Fellowship
Doctoral candidate Jessica Veysey, NRESS, received a 2013 Switzer Environmental Fellowship for her efforts to foster policy decisions that better integrate the physical and social landscapes of sensitive wetland ecosystems.
Jessica Veysey, NRESS Ph.D. Candidate
2013 Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship Grant Recipient
Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS) Ph.D. candidate Jessica Veysey waas recently awarded a Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship Grant. She is one of 22 students in the New England states and California to receive this prestigious award.
The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is a family foundation with a dedication and commitment to supporting environmental leadership and the scientific, technical and professional abilities that enable such leadership. Founded in 1986 by Robert and Patricia Switzer and guided by Robert’s years as a businessman and innovator, support of emerging leaders committed to solving real world environmental problems is the cornerstone of all Switzer Foundation programs.
The goal of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program is to support highly talented graduate students in New England and California whose studies are directed toward improving environmental quality and who demonstrate the potential for leadership in their field. The Fellowship provides a one-year $15,000 cash award for graduate study as well as networking and leadership support to awardees.
The Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program is currently in its 26th year of existence. The Foundation broadly defines its interest in the environment and the means by which positive results can be achieved. Awards have been made to students pursuing environmental policy, economics, land and water conservation, public health, journalism, architecture, environmental justice, business and law as well as sciences including biology, chemistry and engineering.
Jessica's personal and professional goals are to foster policy decisions that better integrate the physical and social landscapes of sensitive ecosystems. She uses wildlife ecology and social science techniques to produce holistic datasets that express the systematic interactions between wildlife, humans, and the policies governing both. For her doctoral research, Jessica is engaged in two complementary, cutting-edge projects designed to identify the factors fueling wetland loss and wetland-policy effectiveness in New England. She uses case-study analysis to assess the geographic and social implications of municipal wetland-policy decisions in exurban landscapes. In collaboration with her advisor, Dr. Kim Babbitt, Jessica also uses a large-scale ecological experiment to test how forested buffers of different widths impact the population viability of two wetland-dependent amphibian species native to the eastern United States. She will use the results from both projects to help municipalities and management institutions formulate wetland policies that better balance resource development and the biological needs of wetland communities.
Jessica has an abiding passion for nature and for civic engagement. She has studied ecology in a variety of ecosystems, ranging from temperate wetlands to prairie grasslands to tropical forests. Jessica has also been working to increase the ecological literacy and decision-making capacity of local communities for nearly 15 years, first as an environmental consultant and, more recently, leading conservation initiatives as a researcher for UNH Cooperative Extension and as a volunteer at the state and local levels. Jessica holds an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. with High Honors in Biology from Dartmouth College.
--Author Amanda L. C. Fontaine, Sr. Information Support Assistant, UNH Graduate School