Wendy Palen

Isabelle Côté


January 16, 2015

Dr. Isabelle Côté and Dr. Wendy Palen of the Department of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University have been selected as 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellows. 

The Leopold Leadership Program at Stanford University provides researchers with the skills for translating their knowledge to catalyze change that addresses the world's most pressing sustainability challenges.       

Dr. Côté‘s research focuses on the ecological impacts of marine invasive species and how best to control them. Côté says,  “This is the most important accolade and opportunity of my scientific career. The Leopold Leadership Program is unique because it targets communication and leadership as critical skills needed to translate knowledge into action.  Over the past few years, I've delved more and more into various forms of science communication for general audiences, but I'm looking forward to learning how to convey the importance of my own work, and of science in general, to decision-makers.” Côté hopes that the program will help her become a much more effective spokesperson for Canadian oceans.

Dr. Wendy Palen investigates trade-offs between energy development and the environment, especially freshwater ecosystems, with the aim of informing conservation policy and practice. She says,

“I'm honored to join this unique network of academic scientists who are committed to translating their science for more effective conservation and management. My current research is focused at the intersection of applied ecology and evidence based decision making, and includes engagement with regional and national stakeholders in some of the most debated natural resource issues in Canada (oil sands, renewable energy, climate change mitigation). I am especially excited to hone my skills in facilitation and strategic communication, both to improve the efficacy of my own research efforts, as well as to offer similar training to the graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of the SFU Earth to Ocean Research Group where both Dr. Cote and I are founding members.”

Palen and Côté are among the 20 mid-career academic environmental scientists named as Leopold Fellows this year. Only two Canadian universities are represented in this year’s fellows, all other universities are from the United States.