Alumni



NOVEMBER 21, 2017
Nelson alumni give back: Mentorship opportunities in CESP Program
Nearly 50 Nelson alumni, environmental professionals, and University of Wisconsin-Madison students participated in a "Speed Mentoring” event in October. While the event was open to all UW students, there was a focus on students enrolled in the Community Environmental Scholarship Program (CESP). CESP program managers Cathy Middlecamp, professor in Environmental Studies, and Robert Beattie, faculty associate work with students who want to explore both environmentally sustainable pathways and engage with their local communities. The program offers opportunities for students to build partnerships with environmental organizations, volunteer on campus and with the local community, and receive professional development training—like attending the Speed Mentoring event. Prior to the event, Middlecamp and Beattie had students prepare ‘elevator pitches,’ a condensed one-minute explanation of their personal interests, career aspirations and past experiences. The elevator pitches were a means for students to start conversations with professionals and explain who they are and what they aspire to become. Following the event, students reported being more comfortable networking with professionals and communicating their academic and career goals. Many also said they were excited to attend another event with more professionals and alumni from an even broader spectrum of career fields. The event wasn’t just a learning experience for undergraduates. Mentorship often works best when both parties are able to learn from each other. Mentors were impressed with the student’s passion, energy and preparation. "It is fun to learn more about student interests and it helps my work to see the range of perspectives undergrads have about the environment and the different academic and professional goals they want to achieve,” one mentor said. "The students were very well-spoken,” said another. "[The event] was very impressive and to hear all their interests, aspirations, and how optimistic they were was very uplifting.” We extend thanks to the alumni who took time to give back to the Nelson Community and look forward to partnering in the future.


MARCH 27, 2017
Champion of citizen science and international expert in energy efficiency honored with Nelson Institute alumni awards
A geospatial data scientist with a passion for mobilizing public participation in science and an international expert in energy efficiency have been named recipients of the Nelson Institute’s alumni awards.


JANUARY 4, 2017
Aldo Leopold series involves community in environmental discussions
As environmental concerns grow more urgent, the work of Aldo Leopold remains a vital touchstone. The University of Wisconsin-Madison professor was a pioneering conservationist and the author of A Sand County Almanac, the seminal 1949 book about people’s relationship to nature. UW-Madison will honor Leopold’s legacy and connect it to our time with a wide-ranging series of seminars, lectures, and workshops.


JUNE 30, 2016
Alum’s love for waterfowl and conservation takes flight in Flyways Waterfowl Museum
Upon retiring, people often spend their time playing golf, reading books or traveling the world. Not so for Nichol and Craig Swenson. They opened a museum dedicated to North American ducks, geese and swans and habitat conservation.


MARCH 29, 2016
Sustainability advocate, corporate leader and restoration ecologist honored with Nelson Institute alumni awards
An advocate for sustainability and social equity, a corporate leader connecting the health of people and the environment, and a distinguished professor and restoration ecologist have been named recipients of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies’ third annual alumni awards, established in 2014 to spotlight the accomplishments of the institute’s nearly 4,000 alumni.


NOVEMBER 23, 2015
Environmental studies alumnus named Rhodes Scholar
Colin Higgins, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an alumnus of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, has been named a recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship.


SEPTEMBER 23, 2015
A cohort of support: Community Environmental Scholars Program celebrates five years of student and civic impact
Mia McKinney never considered herself a "bees and trees” environmentalist. But after three years of feeling isolated and on her own, McKinney found the Nelson Institute – or rather, the Nelson Institute found her.


JULY 1, 2015
Summer workshop puts students in the field, contributing to local conservation efforts
What could be better than spending the summer in the great outdoors? How about spending the summer in the great outdoors and getting college credit for it.


MAY 15, 2015
Career profile: George Reistad ('11), Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
I currently work as the assistant policy director at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in Madison, Wis. We focus on sustainable agriculture through three program areas: education, public policy and research. My position focuses on everything from local foods policy issues like the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Program to federal conservation programs like the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Stewardship Program.


MAY 15, 2015
Career profile: Kevin Thatcher Gerike ('12), Xavier High School
I am currently a teacher at Xavier High School on the island of Weno in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. I teach a range of science courses – environmental science, marine science, earth science, food and gardening, and I have also taught chemistry. I also started and continue working with Earth Council, a youth environmental organization on campus.


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