Eight Nicholas School Students Receive Funding for International Research Travel

April 15, 2010

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu

DURHAM, N.C. – Eight students at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University have received Student International Discussion Group (SIDG) awards totaling $11,800 to help fund summer research travel to Central America, Southeast Asia, southern Africa and other environmental hotspots worldwide.

The SIDG awards are made possible by the Lazar Foundation of Portland, Ore., a philanthropic nonprofit dedicated to supporting innovative projects that protect the environment.

Funded projects must be international in scope. They must focus on environmental or natural resource management, and incorporate a human dimension, such as collaborations with local, community-level and international organizations. Many past recipients of the SIDG funding have gone on to hold important positions in international conservation.

This year’s SIDG award recipients, their funded projects and award amounts are:

Lauren Campbell, “The Politics of Knowledge of Hydropower Development in the Mekong River Basin,” $1,000;

Ilana Cohen, “Global Policy and Governance,” $2,000;

Jessica Daniel, “Developing a Communications Strategy and Environmental Education Materials for the Bay Islands Conservation Association of Utila, Honduras,” $1,100;

Derek Andrew Fedak, “Distribution and Numerical Status of Free-ranging Lions Beyond Protected Areas in Zambia and Mozambique,” $1,200;

Jennifer Fitts and Holly Sanders, “Assessing the Water Crisis in Southern Africa: A Case Study of Tanzania and Issues of Access, Social Justice, Governance and Capacity Building,” $3,500 for both;

Pablo Picon Garrota, “Sustainable Solutions for Energy Poverty in the Mekong Area: Lessons Learned from the United States, European Union, and Japan,” $1,300;

Kristen Pfau, “Insecticide Use for Malaria Control: Weighing Environmental Health Benefits Against Potential Risks,” $1,700.

SIDG award recipients are selected by a student panel made up primarily of the previous year’s recipients, with oversight from the program’s faculty advisor, Erika Weinthal, associate professor of environmental policy. Funding amounts vary, but typically range between $1,000 and $2,000 per project.

“Having prior recipients make the funding decisions fosters leadership skills and strategic decision-making,” Weinthal explains. “Developing these skills is a shared priority of the Lazar Foundation and the Nicholas School.”

Robert Healy, professor emeritus of environmental policy and public policy studies, served as the SIDG program faculty advisor prior to retiring from the Nicholas School faculty in 2007.

In addition to the annual research travel awards, SIDG funds two Lazar Fellows at the Nicholas School each academic year and puts on a student-organized conference.