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Great Environmental Minds




We envision a world where all communities have the knowledge and skills to protect future generations and maintain livelihoods. Capacity building is a foundational component of our mission, including supporting the next generation of environmental scientists. In 2020, we began facilitating virtual meetings between students passionate about environmental health and related fields. The informal 'gatherings' were so successful, we decided to take the program forward and establish an official group. From this, the GEMs program was born!

GEMs is a small group of undergraduate and graduate students that meet every 2 weeks during the academic year to share research, build professional skills, collaborate, and network with each other and with environmental health professionals. The group's name is a nod to TIFO's home state of Idaho, known as the 'Gem State.'

Program goals:

  • Collaboration and Networking - Support students in finding and creating these opportunities

  • Mentorship - Foster mentorship between students and by professionals in related fields

  • Capacity Building - Build technical and professional skills in the next generation of environmental leaders

Interested in joining the GEMs?

Students are invited to apply by sending a 1-page (maximum) personal statement on why they would like to be in the group, what they will bring to the group, and what their educational and/or professional interests and goals are. Students from around the world are encouraged to apply, as are students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in environmental sciences. Email personal statements to with the subject line “TIFO GEMs.”

meeting of the mapeprs screen shot for fall 2020.png

The first virtual meeting of the student group in 2020, from top left to bottom right: Casey Bartrem (TIFO ED), Bryn Thoms (TIFO Network), Margrit von Braun and Ian von Lindern (TIFO co-founders and Board), Emma Thomas (student), Sandra Spearman (Student), Madi Thurston (student), Rebecca Witinok-Huber (TIFO Network), Denny Dobbin (TIFO Board), Jeannie Harvey (TIFO Board), Astri Horsburgh (Student), and Piper Christian (Student).

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