Since 2001, the Beahrs ELP has been home to environmental leaders from across the globe, in every sector and discipline. Our growing alumni network has 757 members from over 114 countries, including three Goldman Environmental Prize Winners. After attending the program, our alumni have used the skills and tools they gained from the training to go on to take leadership roles and increase their impact in their communities.
Alumni have included:
Participants have represented many organizations, including:
Below you can meet some of our outstanding alumni and hear about their journey through the program accelerating their careers and expanding their impacts.
Professor of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering
Khulna University, Bangladesh
Dr. S M Abdul-Awal earned his Ph.D. in plant sciences from the University of Cambridge, and is a professor of biotechnology and genetic engineering at Khulna University, Bangladesh. His work deals with poverty, food security, environmental sustainability, and climate resilient development. Projects of his have included providing safe drinking water to the rural people in the salinity-prone southwest coastal region of Bangladesh and increasing plasticity of agronomically important crops in this area by applying biotechnological principles and tools. Both projects work to reduce the poverty levels and disease conditions and to ensure food security in the area.
Dr. Abdul-Awal’s long-term goal has been to create and maintain innovative works in the plant sciences, in order to form individual research groups in Bangladesh and to establish collaborations with renowned research organizations in the global scientific community. The Beahrs ELP was a great opportunity for him to work with environmental professionals from around the world, and establish lasting connections with them. He attended the program in 2017, and was able to return to UC Berkeley as a postdoctoral researcher (Fulbright Fellow) at the Plant Gene Expression Center in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology.
In his role as visiting scholar, as well as Beahrs ELP alumnus, Dr. Abdul-Awal was invited to Munich, Germany to speak at the Global Food Summit. There, he was able to make the most of the speaking opportunity and accomplish his goal of creating an agribusiness grant in his own home country. He established the Global Food Summit Idea and Research Competition-2020, a business incubator that encourages research and innovation while offering the chance to attend and present at the Global Food Summit. Through this competition, Dr. Abdul-Awal has been able to encourage Bangladeshi students to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal-2030, as well as foster entrepreneurship and presentation skills among students, researchers, and academics. The experience, education, and connections he gained from the Beahrs ELP have allowed him to not only further his own goals, but continue to make lasting impact on the young entrepreneurs of Bangladesh.
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
In his role as senior coordinator of human wildlife conflict management and capacity building, Harshad Karandikar led WWF-India's work on human wildlife conflict issues across ten geographic areas. He worked with field teams to design and implement strategies for preventing and managing conflict, increase the reach of their interventions, and move from charity-based to sustainable models. He coordinated several projects at WWF-India, including “Create to Inspire,” which worked to generate urban biodiversity awareness in New Delhi through artistic mediums.
While Harshad had a great deal of experience working on wildlife management and conservation, he had no formal training in the environmental sciences or conservation. He also had goals of making WWF-India’s human wildlife conflict initiatives more sustainable, replicable, and community-managed, and working on conservation issues at a global level. The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program seemed to him the perfect opportunity to learn technical skills while also appreciating wider, more holistic perspectives. He attended the program in 2016 and was amazed by how much he gained in just three weeks. The Beahrs ELP provided him with technical knowledge, skills, and frameworks that he could apply directly to his work, as well as entirely new understandings of the issues he’d been dealing with for years.
The Beahrs ELP broadened Harshad’s horizons by providing him exposure to the unique research environment of UC Berkeley’s Rausser College of Natural Resources, and giving him the opportunity to learn from both expert instructors and his fellow participants. He was able to meet, engage with, and learn from environmental leaders from around the world, and maintain connections with them in the years since. Harshad received the Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Study and is now a PhD candidate in Rausser College’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management. He will always be grateful to the Beahrs ELP, both for how it changed his life, and for its continued impact on participants and their communities year after year.
Senior Policy Analyst
Tennessee Dept of Environment & Conservation Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices
Matthew Taylor is a senior policy analyst for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. His work involves many facets of sustainability and environmental policy, including managing teams responsible for the administration of sustainability programs, helping divisions learn how to overcome budgetary shortfall issues, and understanding how the state will implement new federal regulations. However, he has not had any formal training in environmental policy, so when he heard about the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to come to UC Berkeley and engage with some of the world’s foremost environmental experts.
In his time in the Beahrs ELP, Matthew found that what he learned from his fellow participants was just as valuable as what he learned from the instructors. He had the chance to engage and collaborate with environmental leaders from around the world, including two participants who represented their respective countries at the Paris Climate Agreement. He also got to work with people like Diego Tabilo, Executive Director of Fundación Tierral Austral (Tierra Austral Landtrust), who is making huge gains in land conservation in Chile. As many environmental issues are global and crosscut demographics, Matthew and his colleagues were facing similar problems, yet their variety of backgrounds and experiences led them to different solutions. With fellow participants who had rediscovered species thought extinct for over two decades, or who represented organizations working with Indigenous and traditional communities across the world, it was easy for him to tell that the people he was surrounded by were leaders in their respective fields. The opportunity to learn from and form connections with them was unique and invaluable to Matthew.
After completing the three-week program in 2019, Matthew was able to lead the successful passage of new legislation in Tennessee, which works to encourage food donation in order to address food waste. This legislation expands donor liability protections by allowing direct donation, aligning state protections with federal protections provided through the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act, as well as improving state legislation relating to feeding food waste to animals. Matthew believes that participation in the Beahrs ELP provided him with the confidence and experience necessary to meet with members of the state legislature and make the policy change sell to them.
Matthew Taylor's Testimonial
"Of all the amazing academics and professionals we had the opportunity to connect with through the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, I was most blown away by the expertise, knowledge, and experience of my colleagues in the program. That is by no means meant to take away from the lecturers/presenters, which included Nobel Laureates. However, we had participants that represented their respective countries at the Paris Climate Agreement, that had rediscovered species thought extinct for over 2 decades, that are advocating for environmental protection and issues in countries with limited legacy of governmental role in environmental protection. The quality of the students in the program was unbelievable and I was so incredibly honored to have the opportunity to connect and learn from them. The professors and lecturers certainly share incredible knowledge and wisdom with Beahrs ELP participants, but the opportunity to connect with legitimate world class professionals in the environmental and conservation fields is something you won’t experience anywhere else."
Belarusian Environmental Movement
Anastasia Zhdanovich is general manager and project manager for the Belarusian Environmental Movement, where she helps work to address issues relating to climate change, persistent organic pollutants waste, and land degradation in Belarus, often through coordination and collaboration with private sector partners. In her work, she frequently struggled with convincing small private businesses to invest in solving environmental problems. When Beahrs ELP alumnus Ming Yang, who is now Senior Climate Change Specialist at Global Environment Facility, told Anastasia about the training, she applied in the hopes that she could use the interdisciplinary seminars and professional expertise to learn how to overcome this issue.
In 2019, Anastasia was selected as the John and Vera Pardee Fellow; their generous support enabled her to travel to Berkeley and attend the Beahrs ELP. There, she was able to attend sessions on topics like green finance and communications, and special guest lectures such as “Environmental Policy and Its Impact on Private Sector.” She had the opportunity to learn from experts such as Olha Krushelnytska, sustainable finance specialist for the World Bank, and Karolo Aparicio, director of corporate partnerships at a US-based nonprofit. Participating in the Beahrs ELP provided Anastasia with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement her ideas with a greater impact. She was able to learn from and connect with some of the world’s foremost environmental experts, as well as her fellow participants, themselves leaders in their respective fields and countries. She felt grateful and inspired to be working and learning alongside talented individuals fighting for a better and healthier planet.
After she attended the Beahrs ELP, Anastasia and her organization were awarded the Partnership for Sustainability Award 2019 of the UN Global Compact for their project working to mitigate some of the negative impacts of climate change by eliminating consequences of the bark beetle epidemic in the Krasnopolsky district in Belarus. The assessment criteria for the award included impact on society, project sustainability, and innovation, and Anastasia is also launching the Tree Planted platform to contribute to climate change mitigation. What she learned from her time in the Beahrs ELP has been invaluable to her work as project manager.. She will continue to use what she gained from the Beahrs ELP to aid in her environmental work, as well as maintain connections with her fellow participants around the world.
"Seeing the big picture is as important as understanding the details and complexities of the problem and generating creative solutions to our environmental problems." -Divina Lade (ELP 2018)
Collaboration with UC Berkeley Experts
A number of our alumni have partaken in collaborative projects with UC Berkeley experts; click here to learn more.