The Carson Scholars Program cultivates and advances interdisciplinary environmental scholarship at the University of Arizona (UA). Scholarships of $5,000 per calendar year are awarded through a competitive process to current UA graduate students committed to interdisciplinary research on environment and society. The program is designed to build a network of graduate students and faculty devoted to furthering their capacity to communicate their work to the public and decision makers through training in writing, media and outreach.
The program was founded in 2011 by Dr. Diana Liverman, University of Arizona Regents Professor in the School of Geography and Development, who recognized the importance of training the next generation of scientists to better communicate their research. It is dedicated to the vision created by Rachel Carson who, through her writings and work, alerted the world to the dangers of chemical pesticides and launched our modern environmental movement.
The Carson Scholars Program is administered and sponsored by the UA Institute of the Environment with additional support from the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, Biosphere 2, College of Science Galileo Circle and private donations.
Fellowships within the Carson Scholars program are established to reflect and promote the research interests of program sponsors and Rachel Carson Leadership Circle members. Selection criteria for each fellowship includes the degree to which the scholar’s work addresses each fellowship’s objectives as well as the excellence of the student’s academic qualifications and person.
More than just a Scholarship!
The Carson Scholars Program is more than just a check in the mail to top graduate students: It is dedicated to training the next generation of environmental researchers in the art of public communication. Throughout the scholarship year, Carson Scholars work closely with faculty mentors and invited experts who provide hands-on training and other resources to develop skills, strategies, and products to effectively convey the value of their research and enhance their skills in communicating science to a variety of audiences. Then the Scholars put their training to work, completing a video, exhibit, public presentation, website, blog, or other communication project by the end of the year.
UA Science Cafe Series
The UA College of Science hosts a series of public talks aimed at bringing the community together with UA scientists and graduate students in a casual setting. The Borderlands Brewing Co. Science Cafés Series is held each Fall and Spring and features presentations by current Carson Scholars on their latest research.
Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments
In 2016, the Carson Scholars program announced a new partnership with the longest-running online literary environmental magazine, Terrain.org. Designed and edited by poet Simmons Buntin, a University of Arizona graduate, Terrain.org launched this new series featuring the work of current and past Carson Scholars. Called A Life of Science, the feature contains essays and other writing with the goal of inspiring readers to understand not only research findings, but the textures of the lives of scientists and others engaged in the crucial work of helping the planet along in an age of unprecedented change.