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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 that we decided to take the program forward and establish an official group. From this, the GEMs program was born! The group's name is a nod to TIFO's home state of Idaho, known as the 'Gem State.'

GEMs started as a small group of undergraduate and graduate students that met every 2 weeks during the academic year to share research, build professional skills, collaborate, and network with each other and with environmental health professionals. TIFO’s GEMs program continues to this day as a network of environmental health students and professionals engaged in research and mentorship.

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

Students interested in getting involved in applied research, mentorship, and collaboration should send a letter of interest to Undergraduate and graduate students are accepted on a rolling basis.

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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