Scientist Sentinels: Civic Engagement and Leadership Program


This program brings together scientists working at the nexus of environment and civic engagement to advance the role of science in the United States, inspire their peers, and support evidence-based decision making at the local level and beyond. 

When scientists are at the table alongside local community decision makers, we get more informed solutions that have a greater chance of success. We are growing a network of leaders who bring their whole selves to their science and engagement, and who apply their diverse perspectives to solving urgent challenges.  By engaging with community leaders, resource managers and policy makers, these scientists will advance durable, innovative solutions that build a better future for the United States and its diverse peoples and environments.

2020 Science Sentinals

Adelle Monteblanco

Middle Tennessee State University

Cerissa Hoglander

Grand Canyon Trust

Dawn Davis

University of Idaho

Emmanuel Garcia

City University of New York - Graduate Center

Joshua Drew

State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Juan Aguilera

University of Texas at El Paso

Juliann Aukema

U.S. Agency for International Development

Karen Bailey

University of Colorado Boulder, Environmental Studies Progra

Karina Sanchez

University of Northern Colorado

Kristina Young

University of Texas at El Paso

Luis Alexis Rodríguez-Cruz

University of Vermont

Mónica Medina

Pennsylvania State University

Priya Shukla

University of California, Davis, and Forbes Science

Sara Kross

Columbia University, Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology

Tom Iwanicki

University of Hawai'i

Past Cohorts


Dr. Adelita G. Cantu

Dr. Amanda Fencl

Dr. Anne Hilborn

Dr. Carlos M. De León-Rodríguez

Dr. Laura E. Martinez

Melissa Watkinson

Michelle Del Rio

Dr. Mohamed Yakub

Nicholas Santos

Dr. Paula Stigler Granados

Dr. Ramesh Laungani

Dr. Sarah Evanega

Dr. Se Jin Song

Shayle Benjamin Matsuda

Dr. Vijay Limaye


How to Apply

Applications for the 2020 cohort are now closed. We will post instructions here when soliciting applications for the next cohort. Typically the application includes brief background information and several short-answer questions. 

Need more info? Please contact



How do I know if I’m eligible?

If you are a scientist whose work is at the nexus of environment and society, and you would like to take your communication and leadership skills to the next level, we encourage you to apply. Please review the other questions regarding eligibility below. If you are still unclear about whether or not to apply, please contact us at

What stage in my career do I have to be in to apply?

We welcome scientists from all career stages—graduate students to emeritus. We have found that having a mix results in great conversations and mentorship, as everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to teach.

Does it matter where I live?

We are looking for scientists currently residing in the US; however, it is not a requirement to be a US citizen or permanent resident. Scientists who do research outside the US are also welcome to apply, as long as their civic engagement goals are focused on the US.

What does the program include?

The 9-month program will include peer-coaching sessions and webinars on specific topics, determined by the group’s needs and interests. We will also have some individual coaching available to help you achieve your goals. At a minimum, be prepared to commit about 4 hours/month for peer coaching and webinars, plus whatever time you dedicate to achieving your civic engagement goals.

What are the goals of the program in regards to civic engagement?

This program supports scientists with the tools, training, and network to make progress on their personal goals for civic engagement. COMPASS does not provide the civic engagement goals for the participants; they are self-identified. We will provide a solid grounding in understanding the policy landscape, how change happens, what roles you can play as a scientist, and how to build your network.

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