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Yale Law Students Receive Switzer Environmental Fellowships

Two Yale Law students, Stephanie Safdi '13 and Reed Schuler '13, have been selected to receive the Switzer Environmental Fellowship. The Switzer Environmental Fellowship is a program of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation that recognizes the achievements of environmental leaders and their potential to drive positive change.

This year's Switzer Fellows were chosen from universities in California and New England to receive one of the nation's most prestigious academic awards for environmental leaders. Each year, at least 20 promising environmental leaders are awarded $15,000 each to complete master's and doctoral degrees to advance their skills and develop their expertise to address critical environmental challenges. This is the 26th year of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship program.

"The 2012 Switzer Environmental Fellows are preparing to address the most complex environmental issues of our time through academic disciplines at the cutting edge of science and policy. These individuals share a determination to actively apply their problem-solving abilities and innovations in the environmental realm," explained Executive Director Lissa Widoff.

Stephanie Safdi is a joint-degree student at the Yale Law School and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she concentrates on intersections of environmental, health, and human rights law. Stephanie endeavors to advance environmental justice domestically and internationally through legal advocacy, community-driven development, and research. As a member of Yale’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, Stephanie advocates for indigenous rights in the context of large-scale land development and agribusiness in Papua, Indonesia. She has worked to advance access to justice services and accountability for corporate mining practices in Sierra Leone through the human rights organization Timap for Justice, as well as to create accountability for disparate environmental and social harms domestically, with the Natural Resources Defense Council Litigation Team, and for disproportionately impacted communities in California, with the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. In an effort to advance imaginative and collaborative approaches to environmental law at Yale, Stephanie founded and chaired the New Directions in Environmental Law Conference Series. Stephanie has also served as Co-President of the Yale Environmental Law Association and Vice President of the American Constitution Society’s Yale chapter. Prior to law school, Stephanie used a Fulbright Fellowship to establish a public health outreach program with indigenous Israeli Bedouin and pursued global health equity through the Center for the Study of the Presidency, USAID, and the Harvard Initiative for Global Health. Stephanie received an A.B. in History and Literature from Harvard University and an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge, where she researched the history and sociology of health and medicine.

Reed Schuler focuses on urban development, global sustainability, and economic empowerment of low-income communities. As a student at Yale Law School, he has been Co-Chair of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs, Co-Chair of the Africa Law and Policy Association, a Student Fellow at the Yale China Law Center, and an Associate Fellow with the Yale World Fellows Program. During law school, he has worked with the Center for Market Innovations at NRDC, the building sustainability and transparency platform startup Honest Buildings, and the Environmental Defense Fund. After graduating from Pomona College, Reed traveled to Shanghai, China, as a Fulbright Fellow, where he conducted research in urban development, transportation, and sustainability. After completing his research, he led an energy efficiency and renewable energy strategy project in Boston with the social impact consulting group New Sector Alliance and the environmental NGO Mass Audubon. Next, Reed started and managed a multi-sector behavior change and energy efficiency program for the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the Baltimore Community Foundation, developing systems to expand the market for energy retrofits, learn from patterns of residential energy consumption, give people better energy usage data, and help communities across Baltimore reduce their energy consumption and costs. He also consulted for the economic development social enterprise KickStart in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

More information on the 2012 Switzer Fellows and the Leadership Grants recipients can be found at www.switzernetwork.org.