A former Guam resident has been selected as the 2023 fellow for the National Science Foundation Navigating Home Early-Career Fellowship Program at the University of Guam.
Katelyn Renee Anderson completed her undergraduate studies in environmental studies at Chaminade University of Honolulu in 2020 and earned a master’s in environmental stewardship from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
The UOG Center for Island Sustainability, and Sea Grant and partners in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, initiated the Navigating Home program to address brain drain. This program aims to establish a pathway for training and recruiting individuals holding advanced degrees in marine, environmental, or sustainability sciences who might have left the island territories for educational or work opportunities.
Having returned to Guam, Anderson applied for the fellowship, attracted by the program’s networking benefits. Her goal was to explore various government agencies, seeking the best match for her interests and skills.
According to Anderson, her drive to apply wasn’t solely personal; she also encouraged friends and classmates in the U.S. to consider applying so they can make positive contributions to the island.
With a specialization in restoration ecology during her master’s, Anderson is devoted to addressing environmental challenges exacerbated by climate change.
“We see so many changes due to extreme weather, which leads to problems with erosion. I just want to help the island overall including invasive species removal and helping our native species like our birds. We need our birds back!” she said.
Anderson strongly believes in reshaping the community’s mindset. She advocates for outreach to the elderly, emphasizing the impacts of consumerism, excessive plastic use, and the importance of recycling. By exemplifying good stewardship, she aims to inspire everyday actions that benefit the environment.
Several government agencies, including the Guam Energy Office, Guam Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Statistics and Plans, Guam Coastal Management Program, Guam Department of Agriculture, and Guam Department of Administration, have partnered with UOG for this program.
Anderson has been assigned to work with the Guam DoAg and the GROW Initiative team during her fellowship.