ANE doctoral student awarded Switzer Foundation Fellowship

Antioch University New England is pleased to announce that the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation awarded Brian Johnson, an Antioch New England environmental studies doctoral student, a Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship. Johnson is one of ten Switzer Fellows for the 2008-2009 academic year. Over 200 applicants competed for this prestigious award. As a Switzer Fellow, Brian will receive a one year $15,000 cash award for graduate study and a number of Switzer network services and programs including career advising, mentoring, leadership training, and invitations to regional gatherings. He will also be eligible to apply for a Switzer Foundation Leadership Grant in the future.

In addition to Johnson’s fellowship, three ANE students from Antioch’s Environmental Studies department were among the twenty five graduate-student finalists from New England.

About Brian Johnson, Antioch University New England
Brian Johnson is currently overseeing the design of a new MS degree program in urban environmental leadership at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., while also pursuing a doctorate in environmental studies at Antioch University New England. Brian holds a BS in journalism from Northwestern University, and an MS in environmental education from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University. He is an environmental education specialist with more than a decade of experience in the field. He has previously served as education officer for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, where he directed the organization’s plant conservation education programs in the United States. Brian has also directed environmental education programs at the nation’s first urban Audubon center in New York City, and served for five years as senior faculty with the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University.

Brian’s doctoral research focuses on the relationship between environmental education and improvements in environmental quality. In other words, can environmental education be an effective response to poor environmental quality? His dissertation research includes two phases. The first phase is part of a two-year project (currently in its second year) funded by the EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, entitled “Quantifying a Relationship Between Place-based Learning and Environmental Quality.” The project is gathering outcome data from air quality education programs throughout the United States and analyzing those data as a dependent variable of place-based education implementation. The second phase includes case study research to detail examples of environmental education programs and practices that have been most effective in generating environmental quality improvement outcomes.

About the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation
The Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program is in its twenty-first year of existence. Its goal is to support highly talented graduate students in New England and California whose studies focus on improving environmental quality. The foundation gives awards to ten exceptional students from New England and, thanks to collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation, fifteen exceptional students from California. According to Lissa Widoff, executive director of the foundation, these $15,000 awards are given to individuals who demonstrate outstanding leadership and dedication to working in the environmental field. The foundation awards academic fellowships and project grants, sponsors professional development activities, and fosters a growing network of Switzer Fellows, practitioners and organizations.