UC Santa Barbara geochemist David Valentine has been awarded a Leopold Leadership Fellowship –– a prestigious North American program focused on communicating scientific research to a wide audience. Valentine, a professor in the Department of Earth Science, is one of 20 Leopold Leadership fellows for 2013.
Valentine's research focuses on the interaction among microbes, and between microbes and the Earth system. He uses tools of isotope geochemistry and molecular microbiology to probe fundamental questions at the interface of biology, chemistry, and earth science. His 2012 study documenting the process of how bacteria blooms had consumed almost all of the deepwater methane plumes following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 received worldwide attention.
"I am honored to be chosen as a Leopold Fellow and I look forward to working with the Leopold Program and other fellows to better relay our scientific understanding of complex environmental issues to the public and other interested parties," Valentine said.
The Leopold Leadership Program is a competitive fellowship for outstanding academic environmental scientists who are actively engaged in outreach to decision-makers and the public about their work. The program is based at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment. Each year, the program selects up to 20 midcareer academic environmental scientists as fellows.
Fellows will receive two weeks of intensive communication and leadership training in how to deliver information about their research to journalists, policymakers, business leaders, and the public. The fellowship also offers networking and mentoring through the Leadership Network by program advisers, trainers, and past fellows.
The Leopold Leadership Program was created in 1998 by Jane Lubchenco, a leading marine biologist who is director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.