Sustainability Leadership Fellows

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Preparing future innovators and thought leaders with state-of-the-art science communication and career development training.

Apply now for the 2023-24 Sustainability Leadership Fellows program!

The SoGES Sustainability Leadership Fellows program provides innovative training for early career scientists to effectively communicate science to the media and public, professional development skills and techniques, and strategies to build meaningful careers that incorporate engagement and interdisciplinarity. The competitive program accepts 20 advanced PhD students and postdoctoral scholars each year from across campus interested in communicating their sustainability-related research.

Each cohort of Fellows begins the year with in an intensive two-day science communication workshop. During the academic year Fellows participate in six formal training sessions led by local and University experts on a range of topics including conflict management, interacting with policy-makers, data visualization, and time and workload optimization. Fellows also take part in additional skill building and networking opportunities throughout the year, including an evening with the University Provost. At the end of the program, Fellows are able to elegantly deconstruct, define, and communicate their research within the framework of broader global environmental sustainability challenges using cross-disciplinary and integrative thinking.

2017-2018 Sustainability Leadership group

Training Program

The Sustainability Leadership Fellow training curriculum is a mix of workshops, trainings, networking, and professional development opportunities. Fellows are invited to participate in a large number of cross-campus public and private events with the School during their Fellowship year in addition to the regularly scheduled trainings.

Core curriculum: 

Science Communication Workshop: A two-day intensive workshop at the beginning of the year led by COMPASS, science communication specialists. The workshop incorporates renowned journalist trainers that educate Fellows on effective science communication to media and the public, and to effectively address global sustainability challenges in a landscape of increasing digitization and information accessibility. At the end of the workshop, Fellows are able to elegantly deconstruct, define, and communicate their research within the framework of broader global environmental challenges using cross-disciplinary and integrative thinking.

Training sessions: During the year, Fellows attend six additional trainings with local experts on a variety of career development and leadership topics, curated to be timely and relevant to the cohort, and can include: time management, storytelling, science and policy, online media, proposal and grant writing, talking science with skeptical audiences, data visualization, working on interdisciplinary teams, running effective meetings, and more.

Additional professional development: Fellows have additional professional development opportunities throughout the year, including a communication drill with the CSU Provost, and networking events with visiting scholars, past Fellows, and special guests.

Picture of Chris Joyce

Christopher Joyce
Science Correpondent, NPR

“…I’ve been impressed by the scientific sophistication of the students and by their unmitigated enthusiasm for learning communication skills.

I knew Diana Wall had an outstanding reputation as a scientist, but she also seems to have a knack for finding and motivating the sharpest young minds in the country.

If my own kids asked where they should go to become articulate environmental scientists, I’d send them to her.”

Program Application

The School opens an application for Sustainability Leadership Fellows each February with a March deadline for the following academic year. Applicants should be advanced PhD students or early career postdoctoral fellows at CSU conducting research relevant to sustainability science and with strong motivation to improve their communication and leadership skills. Join our mailing list to be notified when the application opens. 

SoGES co-leads ANGLES – a network of universities in the United States and Canada engaged in leadership development for graduate students in sustainability – whose mission is to grow the capacity for collective leadership and impact on sustainability by accelerating and improving leadership development in graduate education. Read more HERE.


Aleta Weller, Senior Research and Engagement Officer, at or by calling (970) 491-3653.