Recognizing the prominent place of science and its connection with public policy in the 21st century, Michigan State University is launching the Hal and Jean Glassen Scholars Program, which will kick off in summer 2014.
Modeled after MSU's successful Demmer Scholars Program, which allows students to learn about the intricacies of natural resources federal policymaking in Washington, D.C., the Hal and Jean Glassen Scholars Program will offer students exposure to policymaking in Michigan natural resources by combining classroom knowledge with career-building skills.
"There is a dire need for college graduates to be trained in dealing with social, political and scientific problems," says Kelly Millenbah, associate dean and director of academic and student affairs for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "This program, currently in the development stages, will collaborate with natural resources and conservation organizations, environmental and agricultural groups, and business communities in Michigan. Glassen scholars will take a senior-level natural resources policy class, and they will work closely with Michigan policymakers through a 12-week paid internship next summer."
The Glassen Scholars Program, which will run May 27-Aug. 16, 2014, is funded by the Hal and Jean Glassen Memorial Foundation and will be housed in the MSU Executive in Residence Program.
"The Glassen Foundation is a long-time partner of MSU," sayd Tom Huggler, foundation president. "The board members and I are excited to be part of a program that advances students' learning on such issues as the role of hunting, fishing and trapping in the future of conservation and the value of these traditional activities to natural resource management and the state's economy. The program is well-matched with the mission of the foundation and what Hal and Jean Glassen believed in."
Initially, MSU undergraduate and graduate students with a focus on natural resources management and research, agricultural and environmental issues, public policy and communication will be selected for participation on the basis of a competitive application and interview process, scheduled to be completed by mid-December.
"The Glassen Scholars Program will give students a real-world experience and a chance to see the practical side of classroom principles and theories," says Patricia Stewart, program director. "Our goal for its inaugural year is to match 12 students with 12 governmental and non-governmental organizations or businesses that are integrally involved with or have an impact on our state's natural resources."
The class and internships will provide career development and training opportunities for future natural resources leaders to ensure that they are competent and capable to tackle complex conservation, natural resources and environmental policy issues.
The Glassen Scholars Program will also bolster innovation and leadership for resource management by building bridges among researchers, policymakers, businesses, non-government agencies, state and local governments and the public.
"Glassen scholars will get a bird's-eye view of policymaking in Michigan and all that comes with it," Stewart says, "including the wide range of stakeholder diversity and the conflict that sometimes occurs, but more often, the collaboration that results from their common love of the outdoors."