Diana Liverman
Scholars Program

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Sonoran Desert mountain valley

For undergraduate students at UArizona, a new cross-disciplinary experiential program extending the vision and success of the Carson Scholars Graduate Program.

This new program is an extension of the Carson Scholars Program for graduate students, founded by Diana Liverman in 2011, and aims to prepare UArizona undergraduate students as the leaders and problem-solvers of tomorrow.


Connect diverse UArizona undergraduate students to each other and to local environmental realities while fostering dialogue and understanding across academic and community solutions for societal grand challenges.


Unique preparation of UArizona undergraduates via experiential connection to the robust biocultural assets of our region. Community partners, near-peer Carson Scholars, socio-economic and disciplinary diversity, and world-class faculty converge with a prestigious group of students to unpack and tackle the pressing issues of the day—from environmental resilience to social justice. Grounded in a connection to land, community, and one another, the Liverman Scholars participate in a place-and-experience focused program to prepare leaders and problem-solvers of tomorrow. 


Scholars will earn a fellowship and/or course credit and, most importantly, be exposed to skills in intentional listening, storytelling, communicating with varied audiences, and contributing to innovative policy development. The Scholars will connect with an existing Flinn-Brown mentoring network throughout Arizona and will travel to sites and communities whose pasts, presents, and futures embody the grand challenges of our state and region, from climate change to systemic disparities.

Scholars will necessarily have an environmental focus but need not be majors in environmental fields; the program seeks Scholars from a wide array of backgrounds to foster richer communication and deeper learning. Applicants from all programs are welcome.


Eligibility for the Liverman Scholars Program extends to any undergraduate student in any major enrolled for at least 9 units of credit at the University of Arizona and passionate about developing skills in environmental and resilience communication. Preference will be given to students in their sophomore and junior years. Scholars need not be majors in environmental fields; the program seeks Scholars from a wide array of backgrounds to foster richer communication and deeper learning. Applicants from all programs are welcome.

Liverman Scholars commit to participation for the duration of the 2021-22 academic year, including 4 weekend trips, ~20 hours engagement and effort per month. Scholars enroll in a one-credit course for each semester and receive a $1000 stipend for completion of the program.

To grow and deepen communication skills, Liverman Scholars will learn from Planet Forward as well as local storytelling and communication experts. To cultivate deeper connections to place and explore themes of environment and resilience, Liverman Scholars will connect with an existing Flinn-Brown mentoring network and with other partners throughout Arizona, traveling to sites and communities whose pasts, presents, and futures embody the grand challenges of our state and region, from climate change to systemic disparities. Scholars will create communication products for these community partners, drawing on skills learned during monthly workshops and mentorship from faculty and near-peer Carson Scholars mentors.

This program is intended to be driven by the specific needs and input from the cohort of Scholars and community partners. Along these lines, students will help co-design the curriculum, communication products, and develop their own working relationships with mentors and community partners.

Scholars are expected to participate in monthly meetings and to work on their communication pieces on their own time, with mentorship support. Some months these meetings are day-long expeditions to visit community partners, other months they are on-campus meetings focused on communication skills and workshopping their final products. The exact number of hours expended outside of monthly meetings in a given week will be decided between the student and their subgroup with their near-peer Carson Scholars mentor.

Each semester, the Liverman Scholars each receive a $500 stipend as well as one academic credit for their participation in the program and completion of their communication projects.

Liverman Scholars engage in experiential and place-based learning that targets storytelling and communication skill building. Students will build their professional networks by meeting with and working for community partners in a diversity of fields and locations in Southern Arizona, collaborating with near-peer mentors from the Carson Scholars program and a prestigious cohort of fellow undergraduates on service projects, and learning from world class UArizona faculty and from communication experts. Furthermore, this unique experience will enable students to connect with our spectacular and unique southern Arizona biocultural region, better getting to know the histories and contemporary realities of those who call this region home and the many species with whom we share our home.

The Liverman Scholars Program will include both in person and virtual activities. The overnight retreat in October and expeditions to community partners will be in person pending any significant changes in the current pandemic landscape. These in person activities will follow current CDC and University guidelines for COVID-19 safety, including wearing masks and social distancing. Meetings with subgroups and Carson Scholars mentors may be virtual, in person, or a mix of both based on student and mentor preferences.

Applications are due Monday, September 20th, 11:59pm AZ time. Complete and submit the online application. Interested students are encouraged to view the application before applying, and contact the Program Coordinator (Ariane Mohr-Felsen ariane3@arizona.edu) with any questions.

Monday, September 20, 2021 – Student applications due

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 – Target date for students to be notified of review committee decision

Friday, October 1, 2021 – Target deadline for students to accept offer and enroll in program

October 2021 (date TBD) – Liverman Scholars overnight retreat, likely at Biosphere 2

Saturday, November 13, 2021 – Expedition with community partner 1

December, 2021 (date TBD) -- Cohort meeting & semester wrap-up

February, 2021 (date TBD) – Expedition with community partner 2

March, 2021 (date TBD) – Possible expedition with community partner 3

April, 2021 (date TBD) – Cohort meeting

May, 2021 (date TBD) – Summary Event

Eligible Liverman Scholars near-peer mentors are alumni of the Carson Scholars program. Current affiliation status with UArizona is not necessary to be a mentor. Mentors must be able to meet ~8-10 hrs/month from October through April with a small group (4-5) of undergraduates as they put together their communication product for our community partners. Mentors are free to meet with their undergraduates in-person or virtually, and are welcome to set their own meeting schedules. Mentorship can include training in effective science communication (i.e. storytelling, how to communicate without jargon), help with researching, editing, etc. Mentors will also attend the overnight retreat in October, either in person if able or virtually if no longer in Southern Arizona, and are welcome to attend the three expeditions with community partners, though these are optional.

The program will also have 2-3 Faculty mentors who are helping craft the program and providing guidance to Liverman Scholars and their near-peer Carson alum mentors.

For more information on this program, please contact Kevin Bonine, kebonine@arizona.edu, and Ariane Mohr-Felsen, ariane3@arizona.edu.

In celebration of Diana Liverman and her legacy of leading on the environment at the University of Arizona and globally, we invite you to show your support for the Diana Liverman Scholars Program

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