Campus: Cal Poly Pomona -- July 27, 2005
Cal Poly Pomona Graduate Student Wins Prestigious
$13,000 Switzer Environmental Fellowship
Tori Kjer, a Cal Poly Pomona graduate student, was recently awarded a Switzer
Environmental Fellowship, a highly competitive award that provides a one-year
$13,000 cash award for graduate study as well as networking and leadership support.
Only the most active, committed and focused individuals successfully join the
network of more than 300 fellows selected since 1986.
A Los Angeles resident, Kjer is pursuing a master's in landscape architecture at
Cal Poly Pomona.
"I am very excited and honored to be awarded the Switzer Fellowship," said Kjer.
"This fellowship is an excellent opportunity to meet and connect with others
interested in environmental change."
In addition, the fellowship will assist her in covering living expenses and other
costs associated with conducting research and writing her thesis.
Kjer's interests are based in environmental justice, identifying approaches to
integrating natural systems into built infrastructure through the use of topography,
swales and selective plantings of climate-appropriate plants, and the integration
of policy and design. Her research is focused on issues related to community-based
design in border communities and temporary settlements. The landscapes she will
prioritize include the Colonias along the Mexico-United States Border, remote
communities near toxic sites in the desert, rural communities lacking basic
infrastructure, and inner-city areas surrounded by freeways, crime, and pollution.
Prior to graduate school, Kjer worked in a variety of positions related to social
and environmental justice including work with homeless families, in domestic
violence shelters and community gardens. Most recently she worked as a program
coordinator at the Community Food Security Coalition. Her role in this position
was to develop and implement a program throughout the state of California focused
on collaboration with researchers, residents, and practitioners to conduct
community-based assessments of food availability, hunger, and nutrition.
Kjer's post-graduate career objectives are devoted to working in impacted communities
to implement environmental change on both a program and policy level. She hopes to
integrate community organizing, environment and education to build stewardship,
healthy neighborhoods, and connection to place.
The goal of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program is to support highly
talented graduate students in New England and California whose studies are directed
toward improving environmental quality and who demonstrate leadership in their
field. Awards have been made to students pursuing environmental policy studies,
economics, engineering, public health, and law as well as the more traditional
sciences: biology, chemistry and physics. Technical knowledge, analytical skills
and environmental experience are important components of a successful application,
regardless of field of study.
The Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program specifically seeks active, enthusiastic
individuals who have the ability, determination and integrity to become environmental
leaders in the 21st century. The career and professional goals of potential fellows
are carefully evaluated. Candidates with a strong vision of how they will apply
their academic training to a career in the non-profit, government or private sector
are preferred. Candidates pursuing academic careers, while not discouraged, are
required to demonstrate their commitment to applied environmental problem solving
beyond the classroom or university setting.
Contact: Uyen Mai, (909) 869-5331,