| by Jason Warburg and Edy Rhodes

News Stories

Rahaim, Nick
Nick Rahaim MAIEP ’22 will be traveling to El Salvador to conduct research and help develop sustainable fisheries on his Fulbright Fellowship. 

Students in the Middlebury Institute’s MA in International Environmental Policy program earned numerous competitive fellowships and scholarships supporting research and learning opportunities in 2022. 

Nick Rahaim MAIEP ’22: Fulbright Fellowship

Rahaim will be traveling to the Jiquilisco Bay area in El Salvador to engage in ocean-based economy research and sustainable development for a 10-month Fulbright Fellowship in affiliation with ECOPA, a Pacific Grove-based NGO. ECOPA was created in 2018 to build on the work of the Middlebury Institute’s Team El Salvador. Rahaim will be directly working with two grassroots organizations, Asociación Mangle and Asociación Cincahuite, with whom ECOPA has partnered to lend technical expertise to the work of attaining community-determined goals. “I pursued a Fulbright because I wanted to test my technical expertise in a challenging environment,” says Rahaim, “but one where there’d be reciprocity in both on-the-ground cultural exchange and know-how. My goal is to assist ECOPA’s community partners achieve their goals of creating sustainable fisheries that can also uplift the local economy in the Jiquilisco Bay region of El Salvador. This can be done by connecting fishing cooperatives directly to consumers in urban centers, creating a community supported fishery.” 

Heather Cook MAIEP ’22: Freeman Fellowship

Cook received a Freeman Award that funded a research assistant position with Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC) during the 2022 spring semester for her International Professional Service Semester (IPSS). She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Cambodia in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic caused her to be evacuated before she could complete her community projects. Says Cook, “When I was sworn into the Peace Corps, I committed to understanding the country of Cambodia and its culture fully and to contribute meaningfully to my community.” Returning to Cambodia with the Freeman Award allowed her to fulfill this commitment. MCC, one of the largest marine conservation organizations in Cambodia, offered Cook the opportunity to contribute to the original research and mapping of marine resources, specifically seagrass beds and coral reefs. These maps and the information gathered will be used by the government of Cambodia as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations organizations for the development of future zoning and fishery management plans. Cook says she is “truly grateful to the Freeman Award Foundation for supporting her work in understanding and protecting the unique and at-risk coastal ecosystems in Cambodia.” 

Emily Belding MAIEP ’23: Paula Hammond Leadership Legacy Scholarship

The Paula Hammond Leadership Legacy Scholarship sponsored by the San Francisco Women’s Transportation Seminar awards $15,000 to an outstanding young woman pursuing graduate studies working toward a career in transportation or a related field, and who demonstrates a specific interest in advancing transportation innovation. Belding says that she discovered her passion for transportation systems while studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan in 2016. At the Middlebury Institute, she joined the transportation team at the Sustainability Impact Lab (SIL), through which she works with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC), connecting student and community transportation initiatives. 


I couldn’t be prouder of these students and the recognition they are earning. They truly are the next generation of environmental leaders and I look forward to seeing the amazing impacts they make to build a just and sustainable future.
— Professor Jason Scorse

Tabitha Birdwell MAIEP ’22: California Sea Grant 

Birdwell has been working with the Delta Stewardship Council - Delta Science Program, reviewing science communication and creating an ArcGIS story map. Her recent project Closing the Loop - Science Funding & Impacts focused on science funding and communication and how it connects with public and management priorities. 

Julie Stasiuk MAIEP ’22: Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellowship

Stasiuk’s fellowship will focus on developing and refining Hershey’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction roadmap as well as commodity-specific roadmaps for cocoa, dairy, sugar, and palm to align with their near-term GHG reduction targets and net-zero goals.  

Annie Howley MAIEP ’22: Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellowship

Howley will be supporting Blue Shield of California’s sustainability initiatives, including corporate reporting, and conducting a research study. 

In addition, International Environmental Policy student Irene Fernald MAIEP ’23 was awarded a Boren Fellowship (see story), and students Rachel Herring MAIEP ’23 and Alan Sevin MAIEP ’23 were awarded Critical Language Scholarships (see story).

“I couldn’t be prouder of these students and the recognition they are earning,” said Professor Jason Scorse, chair of the International Environmental Policy program and director of the Center on the Blue Economy. “They truly are the next generation of environmental leaders and I look forward to seeing the amazing impacts they make to build a just and sustainable future.”