Janae Davis, a doctoral student in Clark’s Graduate School of Geography, has been awarded a 2019 Switzer Environmental Fellowship from the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. Davis is one of 20 environmental leaders from graduate schools in New England and California who received the fellowship based on their leadership accomplishments, leadership potential, and commitment to environmental protection, innovation, and applied outcomes.
The Switzer Fellowship provides Davis with $15,000 to support her current research, which aims to understand the origins of indigenous low wage, ecotourism labor in the southern Kalahari Desert of South Africa and how it is sustained in the post-apartheid era. Davis also explores grassroots approaches for promoting economic opportunities aligned with the social, cultural, and political needs of the ǂKhomani San community.
As a social scientist, Davis seeks to understand how to promote justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in biodiversity conservation. Her work focuses primarily on the link between political ecology and environmental justice, particularly within the distribution and access to natural resources and disadvantaged groups.
Davis received a Fulbright Study/Research Award in 2018 to fund her dissertation, “Strategies for Improving Labor Opportunities Through Social Equity in Integrated Conservation and Development Projects.” Edward Carr, professor and director of the International Development, Community, and Environment Department, serves as her adviser. Along with her research at Clark, Davis serves as the Winyah Bay Coordinator at American Rivers in South Carolina, where she monitors flood risks and advocates for the conditions of the Waccamaw River to ensure biodiversity and access to clean drinking water.
Davis received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in geography from the University of South Carolina. She has held fellowships with the U.S. National Park Service, American Rivers, and the National Wildlife Federation, and has worked on projects focused on integrating JEDI into organizational structures and fostering engagement with communities of color.
The Switzer Fellowship Network includes over 650 Switzer Fellows selected for their environmental leadership, scientific and policy skills, and collaborative problem-solving approaches. In addition to funding, fellows have access to leadership training, networking opportunities, and guidance from past and current Switzer fellows based throughout the U.S. and around the world.
A comprehensive list of this year’s fellows is available on the web.