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The application deadline has passed for the 2017 application period. If you have questions about the program please contact Zakiya Leggett.


The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program (DDCSP) Collaborative provides training, support, mentorship, and paid research experiences and internships for undergraduates with a demonstrated interest in conservation issues and inclusion. The ultimate goal is to increase diversity and inclusivity in the conservation workforce by supporting students who are committed to breaking down barriers to full participation by all.

The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program is an exciting opportunity for undergraduates at DDCS logoNCSU with a demonstrated interest in environmental issues and cultural diversity to receive training, support, mentorship, and over $10,000 over two years for paid research experiences and internships.  If you are a current Freshman or Sophomore with an interest in the environment, conservation, and research, and a commitment to increasing diversity & inclusion in the field of conservation, the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program may be for you!

Administration and Funding

The program is being administered in partnership with the University of Florida and three other universities. Please see the UF hosted website for more details.  Contact Dr. Zakiya Leggett for details.

Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and housed at the University of Florida, our DDCSP is a collaboration between University of Florida, University of Idaho, University of Arizona, Cornell University, and North Carolina State University and their affiliated Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units. Partnerships are key to the success of the program and we are partnered with the USGS Cooperative Research Units; US Fish and Wildlife Service; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; the Ecological Society of America; and other Federal, local, state, and tribal agencies and conservation-oriented non-governmental organizations to provide meaningful educational, research, internship, mentoring, and networking opportunities to our students.

Congratulate Our 2017- 2018 Scholars

Maria Paz Alvarez

My name is Maria Paz Alvarez. I am originally from Concepcion, Chile but moved to Raleigh, NC when I was eight years old. I am a rising Sophomore recently accepted into the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. I spent a lot of time growing up in the Department of Natural Sciences at NCSU due to my father working in the department. I believe the time spent here, as well as my parents (both forestry engineers) inspired me to be enthusiastic about the sciences, more specifically Marine Ecology. I absolutely love marine life and hope to make a positive impact on the way humans interact with marine ecosystems (the largest after Planet Earth!).

I hope to also inspire young Hispanic students to be passionate about wildlife preservation, therefore I am truly excited to join this program as it is the first step towards (hopefully) a lifetime of conservation advocacy work!

Jasmine Neverson

My name is Jasmine Neverson and I am 18 years old. I am a first-year student studying Environmental Technology & Management with a minor in Statistics and Toxicology at North Carolina State University. I am originally from Brooklyn, NY, but I have been in NC since the beginning of high school. When I moved to NC, I attended Salem Academy boarding school for girls and learned a lot about the environment and why environmental education is important. I especially enjoyed learning about the conservative and sustainable efforts of those before us. One of the most important parts of solidifying my interest in the environment was during a service project with my classmates here at NC State. We learned how to identify invasive species and helped local companies clear a large patch of affected trees. Although studying invasive species is not my main interest, it allowed me to understand how differently I would see the world every time I learned something new about it.

While at NC State, I hope to pursue research in Environmental Toxicology and incorporate my understanding of conservation into a capstone project my senior year. I hope that my developing interests and hard work will allow me to not only find the right career but help me continue my path through graduate school. While the environment is my main interest, it is not my only interest. In fact, I love to bake and experience foods from all different cultures. I hope to take all that I have learned and travel the world while studying and enjoying the food everywhere I go.

Jackie Hausle

My name is Jackie Hausle and I am a sophomore studying Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at North Carolina State University. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a veterinarian (let’s be real, most kids who grow up with dogs do) and stuck with that until I started college. Along the way, I went to a STEM based boarding school in Durham, NC, where I discovered my love of ecology and field biology.

During my summers, I volunteered at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, and going into college I wanted to be a veterinarian, with a focus on rehabilitation of wild animals. During my first year at state, I realized that animal science wasn’t the path for me, and began taking ecology and conservation classes. I started attending the Leopold Wildlife Club meetings, and eventually changed my major to FWCB. Initially I was more interested in terrestrial species, but last summer I was fortunate to intern under an amazing group of aquarists at the Virginia Living Museum, and fell in love with fish. While I am hoping to learn more about all aspects of conservation biology, right now I am super interested in how fisheries systems are adapting to rapidly changing climates, and how to keep urban aquatic environments as healthy as possible.

Aside from my academic life, I love to go bird watching on early Sunday mornings, and devote the majority of my free time to playing with NC State’s women’s club ultimate team, Jäga. The Ultimate Frisbee community in the triangle is amazing, and our team works to introduce young girls to sports and college, and to help grow our local ultimate community. I am more excited for the coming years with the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program than words can describe, and can’t wait to learn all I can from both the mentors, and the other students in the program!


Our 2016 – 2017 Scholars

Daniel Choi

I grew up home schooled in Fayetteville, NC with my 7 siblings. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to explore the several acres of woods behind my grandparents house. I loved cutting my own paths and being in the untouched forest. As I grew up, I was always curious about nearly everything and loved to make new discoveries. Now, I’m a freshman studying Wildlife Biology at NC State and considering minors in either journalism, cognitive science, or logic and methodology.Daniel Choi photo

I love to backpack, hike, climb, and explore. I also enjoy photography, a hobby which has been with me for years. Up until my junior year of high school I had been considering photography, engineering, or really anything science related but none of them really seemed to capture my interest. Then I found wildlife biology and it seemed to pull together everything that really interested me.

I hope to hold an active career in research as well as do something along the lines of a National Geographic photographer. I look forward to working on research projects this summer and next year as well!

Alyssa Martinez

I am an undergraduate at North Carolina State University in the Department of Biological Sciences as a Zoology major. I am originally from a small town in upstate New York, but I moved to Raleigh last summer and now consider North Carolina as my home. Coming from a “sub-rural” town exposed me to a lot of wildlife and opportunities to get lost in the natural world. I spent a lot of time wandering in the woods around my home which inspired my interest in preserving natural places and their inhabitants.Alyssa Martinez photo

I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY for two years where I worked with lemurs, emus, coatis, etc., in areas of enrichment and exhibit maintenance. The zoo’s main focus was to educate the public on its exhibits to encourage environmental awareness and participation of conserving the beautiful animals on this planet. From that experience, I realized my interest in conservation and hope to pursue a career in in that field as well as promote the proliferation of sustainable resources across the world.

I am going into this program with the hope that it will prepare me for my future conservation career as well as give me a unique opportunity to meet people with similar environmental interests. In the future, I would love to work at a biodiversity hotspot, such as Madagascar, and work with the locals to create sustainable living with the environment in order to preserve the wildlife for future generations. I am honored to be a part of this program and I am very excited to see how I can contribute to this invaluable experience.

Hannah LaCava

“I am an English major with a minor in Biological Sciences. I came into freshman year with my heart set on wildlife biology but quickly realized I couldn’t give up on my love of English. With advice from N.C. State professors and advisers, I realized that I could combine my passion for writing, literature, and wildlife by pursuing a career in science writing. I want to better connect the public with wildlife conservation through outreach and encourage everyone to explore the importance of our environment.

Growing up in Raleigh, I had easy access to both the mountains and the ocean. I spent my summers exploring my grandparents farm in Mount Airy and alternatively spent more than a few nights strolling along the shores of Atlantic Beach looking for sand crabs and turtles. I love to fish, kayak, hike, ride horses, and ski. In addition, two of my favorite pastimes involve playing piano and volunteering with University Theatre.

I am thrilled and honored to participate in this program, and I look forward to learning and gaining as much as I can from the research and people involved.”