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Giving - Students, Faculty, Research

Supporting Students at the Bren School

Student Patrick Roehrdanz and donors Joy Dittberner, Tom Peters, and Gayle and Craig Cummings

Patrick Roehrdanz '09, surrounded by his donors (from left) Joy Dittberner, Tom Peters, Gayle Cummings, and Craig Cummings. Photograph by Jim Boyden

The Bren School views the task of preparing the next generation of environmental leaders as a fundamental responsibility. An unstinting commitment to assisting students is one of the keys to the Bren School's continued excellence, and an area where donors can have a personal impact on individual lives.

Students who received donor-funded, merit-based support are among the most outstanding members of their class and often emerge as some of our most important community leaders and innovators. Their acceptance of candidacy at the Bren School is due, in part, to donors who provided funding that enabled the Bren School to successfully compete with other top programs in the nation for these superb PhD and master’s candidates.

Supporting a Bren PhD Student

The Bren School is proud to be among a handful of universities worldwide that offer a PhD in the emerging interdisciplinary field of Environmental Science & Management. We view this work as critical to the future of the planet, and yet our faculty and students are often challenged to support their leading-edge research because well established sources of traditional disciplinary funding are not yet available to support novel interdisciplinary approaches to creating environmental solutions. 

"One of our greatest needs at the Bren School is fellowship funding to recruit the best and brightest applicants to our PhD program. The university competes with the nation’s top institutions for the very best advanced-degree candidates. Recruitment packages that guarantee at least five years of funding, including support for research, are now essential to compete with the top-ranked programs for the most promising students."                                  Jennifer Purcell Deacon, Assistant Dean of Develoopment

Named Full or Partial Endowed PhD Fellowship      

A Full or partial Endowed PhD Fellowship at the Bren School is a highly prestigious endowment that would permanently associate a donor’s name with the Bren School and the University of California, Santa Barbara. This endowment opportunity represents one of the highest priorities of the School and University. A named full or partial endowed fellowship would provide funding for a student and support summer research to facilitate their progress to complete their dissertation. The commitment to establish an endowed graduate student fellowship will ensure that in years to come, the Bren School has the resources to attract and retain the most outstanding students. A fellowship at this level would be highly prestigious for the fellowship recipient and would raise the national profile of the Bren School.

Named Partial Endowed PhD Award                                                  

A named Endowed PhD Award at the Bren School, is an endowment that would support an annual award coupled with institutional funds to help recruit and support top PhD students. In addition, this recruitment fund may also support summer research to facilitate student progress in completion of their dissertation. This funding would help to top-off funding packages offered to potential graduate students or it may be used to support the ongoing research and travel of current graduate students at the Bren School.

Contribute any amount to the Bren School’s Endowment for Student Support

The School’s Endowment for Student Support enables the Bren School to recruit and/or support outstanding PhD and master’s student each year. Funds from the endowment may be offered alone, coupled with other institutional resources, or offered as summer funding for dissertation research. Gifts of all sizes are most welcome! Learn more about Making a Gift!

What does it take to support a Bren master’s student?

Fellowship: A gift of $10,000 or more establishes a prestigious one-year named Fellowship. You may endow this fellowship in perpetuity with a one-time gift of $200,000.

Award: A gift of $5,000+ establishes a one-year named Award. You may endow this award in perpetuity with a one-time gift of $100,000.

Prize: A gift of $2,500+ establishes a one-year named Prize. You may endow this prize in perpetuity with a one-time gift of $50,000.

Endowments make possible named support in perpetuity and ensure the excellence of the school's student body for years to come. For information about making a gift of student support, please contact Assistant Dean of Development Jennifer Purcell Deacon by calling (805) 893-5743 or sending her an e-mail.

Learn about options for Making a Gift!

Students Julia Griffin, Erica Eisch, Bridget Dobrowski, Lucas Bare, Lara Polansky, and Laurel Brandt with Donors Barry and Jean Schuyler

Donors Barry and Jean Schuyler flanked by the recipients of the 2008 Jean and Barry Schuyler Prizes (from left): Julia Griffin, Erica Eisch, Bridget Dobrowski, Lucas Bare, Lara Polansky, recipient of the 2008 Barry Schuyler Fellowship, and Laurel Brandt. Photograph by Jim Boyden

Master's Student Support

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, one of the top three programs of its kind in the nation, is emerging as the preeminent institution for the education of solution-oriented professionals trained in a comprehensive, balanced, interdisciplinary approach to Environmental Science & Management.

Bren students are part of the next generation of environmental leaders. We view the process of teaching and training these individuals as a fundamental responsibility that reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring a sustainable future. Strong, consistent support for students is a key to the Bren School’s continued excellence; it is also an area in which we provide corporations, foundations, and individuals with the opportunity to have a direct and powerful impact on individual lives. Fellowships are essential to attracting and retaining the brightest students, and endowed fellowships are especially valuable in ensuring that the School can attract top scholars now and far into the future.

In the past two years, the cost of a graduate education nation-wide has increased significantly. The Bren School seeks support to extend fellowships that offset most or all of the tuition for outstanding students and those having the greatest need.

Named Summer Internship Fellowships

The Bren School places a strong emphasis on professional experience and expects all master’s students to complete internships between their first and second year of study. Summer internships provide an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom, gain valuable work experience, and make key contacts in the field—locally, nationally and internationally. Over the years, many internships have been instrumental in helping students locate career positions after graduation.

Because summer internships are often low or non-paid, fellowships are essential and greatly appreciated.

Summer Internship Fellowships are competitive and are awarded by the Bren School’s Office of Career Development in the spring of a Bren student’s first year. Fellowship donors are notified of their student recipients at that time and learn about the internship on which the students will embark. Then, in the fall, donors are invited to meet their students at the Annual Awards Dinner where they learn first hand about the work and experience they helped make possible.


Establish a Named Summer Internship Fellowship for $1,000+.

For information about making a gift of student support, please contact Assistant Dean of Development Jennifer Purcell Deacon at (805) 893-5743 or sending her an e-mail.



Donor Donna Diehlsen and master's sutdent Milena Viljoen

Photograph by Jim Boyden

Donor Deanna Dehlsen with recipient of the Deanna and Jim Dehlsen Award, Milena Viljoen '09.

Milena earned her BS in Biology with a concentration in Animal Behavior from Duke University in 2001. Prior to coming to the Bren School, she was a communications and outreach specialist at I.M. Systems Group in Long Beach, Calif., and also an Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education Fellow with the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center (NOAA), also in Long Beach. While at the Bren School, Milena specialized in Conservation Planning and Coastal Marine Resources Management. She is currently employed at IMSG and working as a contractor with NOAA. She is focusing on GIS/resource risk assessment and ecosystem planning and community-based restoration.


Dana Carlson Severy Award

Donor Dana Carlson Severy

with 2008 Award Recipient Leslie Abramson

Leslie Mara Abramson ‘09 earned her BA in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University in 2000. Prior to coming to the Bren School, she was an Able-Bodied Seaman on the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ship Rainier and Third Mate on the SV Corwith Cramer. Currently Leslie is in Alaska working with the Prince William Sound Science Center in Cordova. She been selected as a Knauss Marine Policy Legislative Fellow through Sea Grant and will be starting her new assignment in Washington, D.C. in Jan 2010.


donor Dana Carlson and master's student Leslie Mara Abramson

We are grateful for support from individuals, foundations and corporations.