Haley Stewart, MS '12Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability
- Why did you choose Antioch’s Advocacy program?
I chose Antioch’s Advocacy program because I wanted to gain valuable skills that enabled me to put my passion for environmental ethics to good use. During my undergraduate years as a philosophy major, I spent most of my time studying biological sciences and thinking about how humans negatively as well as positively affect wildlife and natural habitats. I quickly realized that thinking about these issues wasn’t enough for me and that I wanted to do something proactive to protect the environment for all creatures of current and future generations. Antioch’s Advocacy program enabled me to continue developing my knowledge of and feelings about environmental conservation while providing me with the skills to be a change agent in the field.
- What did you like most about your time in the program?
I truly enjoyed all of the people at Antioch. The students and professors truly make the school exceptional. My peers in the Advocacy program were open, accepting, and gave me support I needed to grow as a professional and an individual.
I also really enjoyed the style of teaching in the Advocacy program. We learned by engaging in dialogue with one another instead of listening to lectures. The ability to learn from the perspectives and experiences of others made the lessons stick with me over the years.
- What valuable skills do you think you learned in this program?
I learned so many valuable skills in the Advocacy program but I think the greatest one would have to be the value of diversity. Our world is much too diverse to ignore, and we should embrace this diversity especially in the environmental movement. No day goes by that I don’t think about how my work affects all sectors from labor to public health and environmental justice. The Advocacy program taught me the value of working collaboratively with the voices that represent various sectors and environmental justice. A unified approach to change will always be more effective than working from a single perspective.
- What is your current work and what other jobs have you had since graduation?
I am currently the California Program Associate for Defenders of Wildlife in Sacramento. My current work covers California wetlands conservation, sea otter protection, and California climate change adaptation issues. I work out of the Defenders Sacramento, CA field office.
Before coming to Defenders, I was a legislative fellow for the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) in Washington, DC. I spent a year and a half managing the CPC’s environmental portfolio. I also worked on an array of issues affecting labor, healthcare, animal welfare, defense, equality, education, and economic empowerment.
- How did Antioch’s Advocacy program help you get there?
The Congressional Progressive Caucus fellowship is offered to one Advocacy student per year. I was chosen as the 2012 CPC fellow and spent three months gaining an invaluable understanding of DC policy and politics. Once my fellowship through Antioch was finished, the CPC asked me to stay on for an additional year as their first legislative staffer. The skills and connections I developed at the CPC during this time enabled me to land my current position with Defenders of Wildlife.
- Is there anything else you want to add that I didn’t ask?
The Advocacy program provides hands on training through two internships, classwork and volunteer opportunities that set its students apart from all other advocates. I was able to start my career in environmental conservation with an excellent education and experience in the field.