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Communicating science: Leopold program names 2 fellows from ASU

April 26, 2011

Two environmental researchers from Arizona State University – one in life sciences, the other in social sciences – are among 20 “change agents engaged in cutting-edge research” selected from across North America as Leopold Leadership Fellows for 2011.

Associate professors Leah Gerber and Marco Janssen will receive intensive leadership and communication training to help them engage effectively with policymakers, journalists, business leaders and communities confronting complex decisions about sustainability and the environment, according to Pam Sturner, executive director of the Leopold Leadership Program based at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment.

“Through our program, they will gain new skills and connections to help them translate their knowledge into action at the regional, national and international level,” said Sturner. Gerber and Janssen will join a network of 153 past fellows who are actively working to infuse the best research into public and private sector discussions about the environment.

Gerber, an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, works at the intersection of conservation, policy, science and society. She studies the creation and efficacy of marine preserves, the impact that whaling has on global fisheries, and how ecotourism affects local communities, including people and seals. Read more about Gerber's research.

Janssen, an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a self-described social scientist with a math and modeling toolbox. He has a knack for designing social experiments using computer games and an ability to work with researchers from different backgrounds, something he does often as director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity. Read more about Janssen's research.

The Leopold Leadership Fellows are chosen for the two week-long training sessions for their outstanding qualifications as researchers, demonstrated leadership ability, and strong interest in communicating beyond traditional academic audiences. More information about this distinct fellowship program, which was founded in 1998 to help academic scientists make their knowledge accessible to decision-makers, is online at