The most recent Environmental Policy and Management cohort meets outside the new Walker Hall after the annual program orientation.
The most recent Environmental Policy and Management cohort meets outside the new Walker Hall after the annual program orientation.

Training the Next Generation Environmental Policy Professionals

Graduate program renews partnership with the UC Davis Institute of the Environment

Quick Summary

  • A renewed partnership between the Environmental Policy and Management (EPM) graduate program and the UC Davis Institute of the Environment is training the next generation of environmental policy professionals. Visit https://epm.ucdavis.edu to learn more.

Environmental science and environmental policy go hand in hand, working together to enable effective legislation to reflect the most-up-to-date research. Or at least that’s how it could work in an ideal world.

Connecting policy and science often comes with complications, unforeseen challenges, and difficult compromises. And when done right, this work can leave a conservation legacy for generations.

With a renewed partnership between the Environmental Policy and Management (EPM) graduate program and the Institute of the Environment (IE), UC Davis is training the next generation of environmental policy professionals to deftly apply environmental science to real-world environmental policy and management issues.

This fall, EPM will welcome a total of 60 students back to campus with several new initiatives designed to expand conversations among students, practitioners, and the local community about equitable environmental policy solutions. The initiatives will increase fellowship support for students, facilitate an annual environmental justice-focused seminar, and increase opportunities for student professional development.

Started in 2016 and jointly administered by the Institute and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), the EPM welcomed its first cohort of seven students in 2017. Since the inception of the masters program, IE has provided critical support, including financial resources, community space and advising for students, and personnel to teach the Professional Development Seminar. The EPM-IE partnership provides students access to top environmental researchers and professionals and allows IE to engage with graduate students working on innovative policy solutions.

New School Year, New Opportunities

Starting this fall, the Institute of the Environment will provide funding to support four EPM student traineeships. This support will give students funding to partner with a community-based organization to collaborate on an environmental justice-focused project. These projects will count towards the student’s required practicum traineeship. The practicum is an opportunity for students to apply their coursework to a problem in a practical applied professional setting and provide students with experience in the professional field. Students work with their site supervisor to identify the scope and deliverables of their proposed project.

In addition to the fellowship program, EPM and IE are collaborating on two new seminars. The goal for the seminars is to connect practitioners to students to share experiences and best practices. Seminars also offer students a unique opportunity to learn from guest speakers and widen their professional network. One seminar will focus on environmental justice topics, such as equitable access to clean water, air, food, and transportation, among others. The other will focus on practical application of science communication skills.

Lastly, EPM and IE are collaborating to provide more professional development opportunities for students -- a cornerstone of the EPM program.

In their first two quarters, students work to identify the professional development opportunities they will pursue in their Professional Development Plan while at UC Davis. With the Institute's support, students will now have the opportunity to participate in networking events offered each year. One of these events will be centered around the end of the EPM Policy Clinic -- a capstone course where small groups of students work with organizations on natural resource management or environmental policy analysis projects over two quarters. EPM and IE will work together to coordinate clinic presentations followed by a reception. We plan to include local professionals, policy makers, stakeholders, campus faculty, and students. This event will give students the opportunity to communicate their projects to a wide audience, share new and upcoming science, and encourage further conversations. A second event is in the planning stages, and EPM and IE hope to partner with local professional organizations to offer another networking event to students. 

The EPM program and the Institute for the Environment are looking forward to partnering to launch these new programs and continuing to support the education of future environmental policy professionals.

Jessica Penrose is the Associate Director of the Environmental Policy and Management graduate program. For more information about the program, please visit https://epm.ucdavis.edu or contact Jessica at japenrose@ucdavis.edu.