DURHAM, NC – The Nicholas School has launched a new campaign to raise $150,000 to increase support for international internships and summer research for students through the Kuzmier-Lee-Nikitine (KLN) Endowment Fund.

The $150,000 goal would double the size of the fund, which marks its 20th anniversary this year.

The KLN Fund was established in 1993 to commemorate three tragic losses.  In 1992, recent Master of Environmental Management (MEM) graduates Kerrie Kuzmier and Pavlik Nikitine died when their plane crashed in a Costa Rican rainforest.  The same year, a third classmate, Steve Lee, died of leukemia.

All three were bright, idealistic environmentalists who wanted to help change the world.  Kerrie was working to integrate ecotourism with environmental preservation in Costa Rica.  Pavlik was helping Wildlife Conservation International manage a wildlife preserve in Bolivia.  Steve had been a Peace Corps forestry specialist in Paraguay and hoped to continue working to promote sustainable development in the region. 

Classmates, friends and family members established the KLN Fund to celebrate their lives and help other students perpetuate their ideals.  

Since then, 65 Nicholas School students have received KLN Fund grants to support international internships and summer research on six continents and in 22 countries.  Many of the projects have focused on promoting ecotourism, sustainable use of natural resources, environmental equity, social justice and environmental education in developing countries.  Although the grants primarily are awarded to MEM and Master of Forestry students, doctoral students also are eligible.

“The KLN Fund was created through the generosity of more than 150 alumni, faculty, staff and friends giving a gift in an amount that was meaningful to them.  I would like to encourage members of the Nicholas School community today – including alumni who benefited from the KLN fund and other grants to pursue international projects – to do the same,” says Karen Kirchof, assistant dean of career services.  

“Not only does your gift help to continue an amazing legacy, but it is desperately needed to maintain the total amount of internship grant money available to our students,” Kirchof says.

You can make a donation online at www.nicholas.duke.edu/giving/kln-fund.  You also can learn more about Kerrie Kuzmier, Pavlik Nikitine and Steve Lee, and some of the amazing international internships and summer research the KLN Fund has supported over the years.

For more information, contact Mike Gulley in the Office of External Affairs at (919) 613-8187 ormichael.gulley@duke.edu.