Alan Diaz-Santana (Ezra Stiles ‘18) has been selected for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholar Program. The Doris Duke Foundation’s Conservation Scholars Program was launched in 2013 to help build greater ethnic and racial diversity within the conservation workforce. The fellowship identifies excellent undergraduate scholars from underrepresented groups who are interested in careers in conservation. These scholars are then hosted in one of five universities across the United States where they conduct research, build their leadership skills, and expand their professional networks within conservation circles over the course of two summer experiences.
Alan spent his first summer as a Doris Duke Scholar at UC Santa Cruz where he participated in extensive field research throughout California. He studied a diversity of topics from environmental justice to turbidity in river systems to plant identification and morphology. The experience helped him clarify his passion for environmental issues that connect to human systems and policy.
In reflecting on his experience, Alan noted that, “All of us doing this work together, and having this experience was pretty great. It is great to also fall back on those people.” The community of peers created through this common experience has had lasting impact. The Doris Duke advisors at Santa Cruz provided a high level of support and encouragement that made exploring conservation work enjoyable and rewarding for Alan and his cohort. As he looks into the best way to focus his next summer experience with Doris Duke and prepares to write his senior essay within Environmental Studies, he has the benefit of this new group of peers and advisors to help him take confident steps forward.