The Scholars for Conservation Leadership Program is a career and leadership development program designed to expand opportunities for students to pursue careers in natural resource management and conservation, with an emphasis on engaging underrepresented students and students of color.

"What I enjoyed most about the program was the opportunity to connect with experienced professionals who have worked for federal, non-profit, and an array of organizations, and their willingness to share advice."
Coria Richardson, 2019 Scholar

The Scholars for Conservation Leadership Program is a career and leadership development program launched by the Land Trust Alliance and the USDA, Forest Service, State & Private Forestry, Cooperative Forestry, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The program is designed to expand opportunities for students to pursue careers in natural resource management and conservation, with an emphasis on engaging underrepresented students and students of color.

This professional development program offers a range of opportunities for rising college seniors to:

  • Learn about career tracks and career development directly from practitioners who represent a wide spectrum of professional roles and institutions in this sector.

  • Be paired with mentors from the land conservation community who can offer advice and assistance to students as they navigate the Scholars Program and beyond.

  • Participate in Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference, the largest gathering of conservation practitioners in the country, including workshops, seminars, trainings and networking events.

  • Build community with a cohort of other students from across the country interested in exploring a career in this sector.

  • Qualify for the selection process for a paid year-long fellowship (post-graduation) with a land conservation organization to gain on-the-job experience at a critical time in their academic and early career.

Applications for the 2023 Scholars cohort will open in spring 2023.

2022 program

The 2022 program brought together eight undergraduate college students from across the country for a professional development experience in conjunction with Rally 2022: The National Land Conservation Conference, held in New Orleans, Louisiana. The students attended the conference and were able to participate in numerous educational trainings and workshops, participate in a one-day seminar and connect with professionals from across the nation.

"The incredible network of industry professionals and conservationists, and getting to meet them and share information about careers, stories and just bond."
Princess Mutasa, 2019 Scholar

Fellows

2021

Nina Jefferies

Western Reserve land conservancy

Nina Jeffries, graduated in 2021 with a degree in environmental science and policy from the University of Maryland with a concentration in environmental economics. She also minored in Arabic studies. Nina has a paid, yearlong fellowship with Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

2019

Lillian Dinkins

Conservation Florida

Lillian Dinkins, who graduated with a degree in environmental science from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, had a fellowship at Conservation Florida.

2019

Papa Gueye

Conservation Florida

Papa Gueye, who graduated with a degree in agronomy from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida, had a fellowship at Conservation Florida.

History of the program

The program kicked off in 2019 with a pilot program that brought together 10 undergraduate college students from across the country for a one-day professional development experience in conjunction with Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference held in Raleigh, North Carolina.

2022 cohort

  • Aimee Alvarenga, University of California-Los Angeles

  • Gab DeVito, University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Yaseen Ginnab, Middle Tennessee State

  • Hannah Hackett, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

  • Kyndal McClain, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

  • Ariel Mial, North Carolina Central University

  • Taylor Mohead, Tuskegee University

  • Sheila Saucedo, University of Texas at El Paso

  • Zipporah Sowell, Tuskegee University

2021 cohort

  • Cean'e Batten, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • Courtney Belcher, University of Maryland, College Park

  • Kendall Griffith, North Carolina State University

  • Destiny Hester, College of Charleston

  • Nina Jeffries, University of Maryland, College Park

  • Summer Lauder, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

  • Lezza-Marie Rodriguez, California State University, Fullerton

  • Lisette Perez, University of Missouri, Columbia

  • Natashia Sawabi, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

2019 cohort

  • Austin Cary, North Carolina State University

  • Pomaikai Cathcart, Colorado State University

  • Kierra Christie, North Carolina State University

  • Lillian Dinkins, Tuskegee University

  • Papa Gueye, Florida A&M University

  • Jocelynn Horton, Tuskegee University

  • Sarah Howdy, University of Massachusetts - Boston

  • Princess Mutasa, North Carolina State University

  • Jana Pruitt, Tuskegee University

  • Coria Richardson, Central State University