Me. Karen Díaz and Ms. Teniope Adewumi-Gunn, both students at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, are 2018 recipients of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, a program of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation.
Each year, the Foundation awards 20 students $15,000 each to support the completion of their master’s or doctoral degrees so that they can develop the expertise they need to address environmental challenges facing society. The students also receive career coaching, mentoring and leadership training and are connected with a network of more than 600 fellowship alumni.
Ms. Karen Díaz is pursuing a master’s of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a master’s of urban and regional planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. She is currently a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, which aims to offer nutritious and sustainable food options to everyone on campus. This fall, she’ll serve as a Global Food Initiative Fellow at UCLA for which she’ll teach cooking and gardening skills to UCLA students who lack the means to eat nutritious meals on a regular basis. Her long-term goals are to is enhance food literacy and reduce food insecurity in Los Angeles.
Ms. Teniope Adewumi-Gunn received a master’s of science in environmental health sciences from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in 2015 and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the Fielding School. Ms. Adewumi-Gunn has served as an environmental justice research and policy analyst with the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Black Women for Wellness. Her work focused on the organization’s Healthy Hair Initiative, which aims to raise awareness about potential health issues posed by products used by women who work in beauty salons in the African-American community. Ms. Adewumi-Gunn helped train salon workers to create safer environments while using chemical hair straighteners, such as by wearing protective equipment and increasing ventilation. Her research interests include applying industrial hygiene to underserved worker communities, sustainability and environmental policy.
The Switzer Environmental Fellowship is awarded to students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in New England or California.