Carson Alumni

Susan Washko Backpacking with team

Amazing Alumni

Since 2012, the Carson Scholars Program has been preparing graduate students to effectively utilize environmental communication and storytelling in their post-graduate research and careers. We have seen many Carson Alumni complete their degrees in various fields at the University of Arizona and continue on to pursue careers in resilience, sustainability, the environment, and science communication all over the world. Click on the names of our alumni below to read about their post-Carson careers and communication successes.

Dr. Ashwin Naidu

The Carson Scholarship was immensely helpful to me during my Master’s and PhD program at the University of Arizona. Drs. Rafe Sagarin and Chris Cokinos were crucial mentors, and will always be my friends for life. In 2016, along with Kyle Thompson as my co-founder, I started the Fishing Conservancy Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit that is now called We received several grants for our work since then, and in 2019, when I became a TED Fellow, I presented our work on the TED main stage in Vancouver. Here's a link to my TED talk on fishing cats and mangrove conservation, which has almost 2 million views today. Our social media page also has many updates and photos 🌳 is now a 10+ year old US-based 501c3 organization. We recently established three community-protected Nature Reserves: Chirra Yanam, India, Samanthakuru, India, and Gal Oya, Sri Lanka. We also have long-term partnerships with lodges and landowners in these places 🐾

We’re now working to gather more support for our conservation actions in India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, so we can create more Nature Reserves. We would love to have more people get involved and support our work!

- Dr. Ashwin Naidu, April 2024
  Founder of
  2013 Carson Scholar


Dr. Saleh Ahmed

The Carson program shaped me and my career. This program helped me to be a better communicator, not just with the policymakers, but also with local community members. While finishing my PhD, I was in the first cohort of the Graduate Certificate in Science Communication program. After joining Boise State University as a tenure track faculty, I designed and taught a graduate-level course titled "Environmental Communication and Decision-Making." During my time at Boise State, I also got the AGU fellowship "Voices for Science". Very recently, I have accepted a tenure track assistant professor position in Environmental Sociology at Michigan State University, where I will start working in Fall 2024 in the Department of Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy Program. I am deeply grateful to the Carson Program, because it helped me to grow as a person, as a communicator, and as an impact-oriented researcher.

- Dr. Saleh Ahmed, April 2024
  Assistant Professor
  School of Public Service, Boise State University
  2016 Carson Scholar

Dr. Valerie Rountree


I am an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands in Southern California. Being a Carson Scholar not only helped me get this job (I remember discussing this during my on-campus interview with the Dean and Provost) but it also helped me develop concrete communication skills that I now apply to my teaching, research, and service activities. As a few examples of how and where I've applied these skills:

  • In 2022 I was a fellow with the AGU Voices for Science program.
  • For the past three years I've organized and hosted a "Climate Teach-In" at my University - this year, we had nearly 30 poster presentations, 6 guest speakers at the "Climate Talks," over 200 attendees, a week packed with student-led events across campus.
  • I teach my undergraduate students many of the communication skills that I learned in this program - for example, in our research-based "Senior Capstone" course, I lead students in an elevator pitch exercise, which is something that we did at the Biosphere during our Carson Scholars retreat.


- Dr. Valerie Rountree, April 2024
  Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
  University of Redlands in Southern California
  2016 Carson Scholar




Dr. Arica Crootof

I weave science communication into many classes including Environmental Interpretation, Environmental Research and Writing, and Natural Resources Conflict Resolution. 

- Dr. Arica Crootof, May 2024
  Associate Professor
  University of Montana Western
  2016 Carson Scholar

Dr. Susan Washko

I was approached by a journalist to comment on how mosquito and tick populations might be shifting their ranges with climate change, and how backpackers should plan before arriving in the mountains. I felt a lot more confident preparing for the interview and knew how to structure my answers due to the Carson Scholars training. You can see the article including my interview published in The Backpacker

I've also continued mentoring students at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) on how to explain their science to non-experts. I scheduled a scientific storytelling workshop for this summer, and I'm excited to continue facilitating science communication training and instill enthusiasm in current students.

- Dr. Susan Washko, April 2024
  Faculty Lecturer
  Western Colorado University
  2022 Carson Scholar
  Susan Washko's Publications

Dr. Miguel Grageda

After graduating in 2023, I started working as an International and Borderlands Wildlife Specialist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. My focus is in developing strategies for the recovery of species of binational interest between Mexico and the United States. A significant aspect of my position involves documenting our efforts through photography and video, crucial for our public outreach. The environmental communication skills that I learned as a Carson Scholar have helped me to engage with our partners in other agencies both in English and Spanish.

In addition to the work in my current position, I was selected last year as a Scholar for the Summit College Photography Scholarship Program with the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). Thus, I was able to practice some of my skills collaborating with ten other talented students producing this video for Tucson Audubon Society.

Furthermore, I was honored to participate in an interview for the German documentary "Golf Von Kalifornien" and the documentary for National Geographic Brazil "Planeta Selvagem: Mexico", where I shared insights into my research as a graduate student at UofA. 

I am very enthusiastic and thankful for having had the opportunity to be part of the Carson Scholars program, and I am confident that the knowledge and skills I gained through my time there will continue to shape my career in the future. 

- Dr. Miguel Grageda, May 2024
International and Borderlands Wildlife Specialist
Arizona Fish and Game Department
2023 Carson Scholar

Pie Chart of Carson Scholars 2012-2024

Diverse Fields of Study

Past Carson Scholars have earned degrees from a wide range of fields and disciplines. We have Carson alumni from around the world who have graduated from the following UArizona colleges and programs:
  • College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences (CALES)
  • College of Fine Arts
  • Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
  • College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA)
  • Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP)
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS)
  • College of Education
  • James E. Rogers College of Law
  • College of Science
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Optical Sciences


Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation

College of Engineering 

College of Science Galileo Circle

Graduate College

Arizona Institute for Resilience

Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment & Social Justice

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences