Glenda Valdez: 2022 Wyss Scholar will focus on climate change and natural resources
Glenda Valdez (’23) is one of two Wyss Scholars selected from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2022. Funded by the Wyss Foundation, a private, charitable foundation dedicated to land conservation, the Wyss Scholars Program seeks to identify and support a new generation of leaders focused on land conservation issues.
Growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Northern Minnesota, Valdez spent much of her time rambling in the woods, cross-country and alpine skiing in the winter, and paddling in Lake Superior during the summer. During college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she spent her time researching in a molecular ecology lab and volunteering in the community through the UW Department of Chemistry Institute for Chemical Education. Ultimately, she earned degrees in Entomology and Applied Economics, as well as certificates in Leadership and Environmental Studies. Through these studies, she became fascinated by how the social and natural sciences can inform environmental law and policy.
Following her college graduation, she was an intern in the director’s office in the Bureau of Land Management and then a Science Education Analyst at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She was able to see how national policy–in the context of public lands and then federal grant programs–is crafted. At NSF she also conducted research to inform equity in funding of STEM education programs and was struck by how many of the communities facing barriers to higher education also face environmental injustice.
Now as a second-year law student at Lewis & Clark, Glenda volunteers with the Northwest Environmental Defense Center as a student board member and on the public lands and environmental justice committees assisting with FOIA requests and creating one-page resource sheets. She spent the summer of 2021 working for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where she focused on advocacy to support an equitable transition to clean energy. She will be a summer 2022 law clerk for Earthjustice’s Oceans Program where she will explore litigation-focused work in the context of federal offshore lands and resources.
Glenda’s dedication to public interest work and conservation is rooted in her life experiences. Following graduation, she hopes to work in the public interest field to work on natural resources conservation and climate change issues that matter to local communities and have a national impact. With family in Peru and Finland, Glenda is keenly aware of how the impacts of climate change are being felt on a global scale and is deeply committed to doing her part to mitigate the consequences.