FAMU professor selected as leadership fellow


Jennifer Cherrier, a professor from Florida A&M’s School of the Environment, has been selected as a 2013 Leopold Leadership Fellow.

Cherrier is one of 20 selected environmental researchers in North America. She has spent her career researching ways to help preserve the environment and said this fellowship will help bring some of her ideas into action.

“The fellowship will allow me to better network and learn how to interact with the business community and the decision makers,” Cherrier said. “The first step to trying to address some of these issues is for scientists to be able to make the research that we do relevant to society. That’s our job.”

In the little free time she has, Cherrier enjoys spending time with her three sons, cooking and gardening. But she has devoted her life to saving the environment and voicing the importance of being sustainable.

“I take every opportunity I can to educate people, to talk to people, to lead by example,” Cherrier said. “As an individual and a scientist, I like to empower all people.”

Cherrier said it is important for everyone to understand the impact they have on the environment.

She hopes the fellowship will help her learn how to make her research and studies accessible and relatable for everyone.

“All of us together are the solution to the problem,” Cherrier said.

She will begin training with the other selected fellows in June and after training, she will perform independent research for a year. The following year, she will go back to share what she learned during her research and collaborate with the other fellows to promote sustainability.

Tiffany Baskerville, a graduate studentfrom Portsmouth, Va., said Cherrier is more than just a teacher.

“She has pretty much helped mold my path as a graduate student,” Baskerville said. “She has stood up for me in times when nobody else would.”

Baskerville said it is tough to be a female in a career dominated by men, but Cherrier continues to help her and push her past the obstacles.

Michael Abazinge, interim director of the School of the Environment, praised Cherrier for being good at what she does.

“You have got to give it to her,” Abazinge said. “She works hard. She’s one of the most productive faculty that we have within this program.”