Recently, the Forests, Environment and Wildlife Leadership (FEWL) Academy within the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment at Auburn University visited Washington, D.C. The visit provided opportunities for students to interact with policymakers and natural resource organizations, allowing them to gain firsthand insights from leaders involved in shaping natural resource policy in the United States. Accompanying the students were faculty advisors Emmett F. Thompson Dean Janaki Alavalapati and associate professor Adam Maggard, who facilitated discussions between the students and the representatives.
FEWL Academy members and faculty advisors, from left to right, Emmett F. Thompson Dean Janaki Alavalapati, Alex Warr, Noah Coleman, Bayleigh Lamberson, Rory Smith, Jaquie Parker, Benjamin Bradley, Lauren Wright, Josie Wolan, Samantha Schweisthal, Ally Cobern, Lauren Stevens and associate professor Adam Maggard.
While on the trip, the students enjoyed a private tour of the Capitol, led by Joseph Rosenwinkle from the Office of Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis (Florida). They engaged with Andria Weeks, associate deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service and visited the United States Geological Survey, or USGS. During this visit, they directly met with John D. Thompson, deputy dhief of the USGS Cooperative Research Units in the Ecosystems Mission Area.
Following, the Academy visited the Auburn University Office of Federal Relations, where they were welcomed by Andrew Newton, director of Federal Relations. They also engaged in a lunch meeting with David Tenny, who serves as the president and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and Terry Baker, CEO of the Society of American Foresters. Afterward, Newton guided them on a tour of the D.C.-based Auburn University facility.
FEWL Academy members during a private tour of the Capitol, led by Joseph Rosenwinkle from the Office of Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis (Florida).
In addition, they held meetings with personnel from several governmental offices, including office administrator Kyle Nichols of the Department of State, John Henry Woods, legislative correspondent for the Office of Senator Katie Britt, Emily McBride, legislative assistant for the Office of Senator Tommy Tuberville and Will Stiers, legislative assistant for the Office of Congressman Mike Rogers. Members of the academy also spoke with Annie Arbuthnot and Kate Macken from the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, who are integral members of the forestry team within the Office of Conservation and Water.
FEWL Academy members with John D. Thompson, deputy chief of the USGS Cooperative Research Units in the Ecosystems Mission Area.
“Experiential learning opportunities such as this play a significant role in enhancing students’ personal development and leadership skills,” said Maggard “This distinctive experience provided these students with valuable insights as they encountered various viewpoints on leadership definitions, the shared and distinct attributes of leaders and the intricate challenges confronted regularly by government officials, CEOs and policymakers.”
“During my trip to Washington DC with the FEWL Academy, I gained valuable insights into effective leadership through engaging workshops and seminars,” said Lauren Stevens, member of the FEWL Academy. “Exploring the nation’s capital also provided me with a deeper understanding of American history and its relevance to contemporary leadership challenges. I am so thankful that this trip forged meaningful connections with my peers and to have had this transformational experience alongside them.”
Current FEWL Academy members are Benjamin Bradley, Ally Cobern, Noah Coleman, Bayleigh Lamberson, Jaquie Parker, Samantha Schweisthal, Rory Smith, Lauren Stevens, Alex Warr, Josie Wolan and Lauren Wright.
FEWL Academy members and faculty advisors in front of U.S. Capitol during D.C. visit.
They represent a wide range of majors, including forestry, wildlife sciences pre-vet medicine, natural resources management, sustainable biomaterials and packaging and wildlife ecology and management.
Qualified students in Auburn’s College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment who are in good academic standing and interested in developing leadership skills are invited to apply. Each year, 12 to 15 applicants are selected to participate.
To learn more about the individuals in the 2023 FEWL Academy class, review their student biographies on the main FEWL Academy webpage.
(Written by Allison Killingsworth)