GE Foundation Grant Enables F&ES to Attract Diverse Talent

The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) has received a $100,000 two-year grant from the GE Foundation to offer full financial support for up to five students from historically underrepresented U.S. communities.

This is the third consecutive year that the GE Foundation has funded the Environmental Scholars Program.

“The School of Forestry & Environmental Studies is a recognized center of excellence on environmental and natural resources issues. It develops the leaders needed to manage these important issues for the years ahead,” said Steve Ramsey, GE vice president for environmental programs. “This GE Foundation grant will help attract more diverse talent into the program and ultimately into industry and the nonprofit sector.”

The goal of the scholars program is to increase the number of applicants and matriculating master’s students from historically underrepresented communities in the United States, which comprise urban and rural poor and ethnic and racial groups including Native Americans. When matched with Yale and other funding sources, the students will have full financial support for both years of their master’s program.

The current GE Foundation Scholars are first-year students Stephanie Horn of Lower Peach Tree, Ala., Christopher Hudak of New Sharon, Maine, and Evelyn Silva of Flushing, N.Y. Second-year students are Drena Howard of Charlotte, N.C., and Lisa Botero of Orlando, Fla., both master’s candidates in environmental management, and Jacqueline Guzman of Houston, Texas, a candidate for a master’s degree in environmental science.

“The scholarship is very important to me. Without it I would not be studying at Yale,” said Howard, who will pursue a career in environmental health education after she graduates in 2005. Said Botero, “I am grateful to those who honored me as a recipient. The scholarship has granted me a degree of independence by lessening the financial burden and related stresses associated with earning a master’s degree, which will be the first earned by anyone in my family since coming to this country.”

Dean James Gustave Speth said that the school’s success relies on its ability to attract the best and brightest students with high leadership potential. “While the school has an outstanding track record in preparing students to become environmental leaders, it has been less successful in attracting students from underrepresented communities in the United States. Rising tuition costs, coupled with modest permanent sources of scholarship funding for master’s students, complicate the effort,” he said. “The GE Foundation’s generous grant will help us achieve the school’s strategic goal of educating a new, more diverse generation of environmental professionals.”

The cost of tuition is $23,850 annually to obtain a two-year master’s degree either in environmental management, environmental science, forestry or forest science. F&ES provides $2.1 million a year in scholarship aid to its 261 master’s students, 26 percent of whom come from outside the United States. Seventy-five percent of master’s students receive grants or loans. Admission to F&ES master’s programs is not based on financial need.

The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to strengthen educational access, equity and quality for disadvantaged youth, and supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world. In 2003 the GE family contributed $140 million to community and educational programs, including $50 million from the GE Foundation. For information, visit www.gefoundation.com.

Founded over 100 years ago, F&ES (www.yale.edu/environment), is the oldest school in the country devoted to professional training in the area of the environment and natural resources. In addition to its four, two-year master’s programs, F&ES offers a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.), which is jointly administered with the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For more information, contact the F&ES Admissions office at 203-432-5942.

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Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326