Students Named as Board of Trustee Fellows in Connecticut

The Nature Conservancy's most recent fellows are students at Yale University and the University of Connecticut.

An aerial view of Connecticut reveals a vast forested landscape.
Aerial View An aerial view of the Connecticut landscape. © My State MLS

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The Nature Conservancy has named students from Yale University and the University of Connecticut as fellows to its Board of Trustees in Connecticut.

Rowan Sharkey of Granville, Ohio and Tessa Hospod, who hails from Hanover, Conn., were named to the board earlier this year and have previously engaged in work and research related to the environment. They joined existing board fellow Mandy Tran, a senior environmental science student at the University of Texas at Austin who previously partnered with TNC and was a Yale Conservation Scholar.

The fellows program provides professional development, invites fresh perspectives and support from emerging conservation leaders, and offers mutual learning among staff, trustees and fellows.  It also aims to inspire and excite the next generation of conservation leaders. 

Fellows serve in a non-voting capacity with the Board of Trustees and provide valuable insight on TNC programs and outreach, especially about environmental research they might be conducting.

Rowan Sharkey is a Masters of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment, focusing specifically on ecosystem management and conservation. Having received her B.A. in data analytics and environmental studies at Denison University, her interest lies in environmental data analysis, storytelling and communication.

Sharkey has also served as a Princeton in Africa fellow, where she worked with regenerative agriculture and nutrition accessibility in Kenya. She holds a deep connection to the land and is curious about best management and restoration practices to further the effort against global climate change.

Tessa Hospod studies environmental science at the University of Connecticut, with a concentration in sustainable systems and a minor in Spanish. She is currently involved in an independent research project, “Evaluation of Carex Species for Low Maintenance, Native Lawn Alternatives,” through the honors program at UConn to develop a more sustainable lawn alternative. Her work at UConn and with TNC was recently profiled in The Daily Campus.

Hospod currently also works as an undergraduate research assistant at the University’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, targeting turfgrass science in the areas of pesticide-free management methods on athletic field turf, cultivation methods and soil modification, establishment techniques and more.

Board fellows are expected to attend quarterly Board of Trustees meetings, take a role on at least two different board committees, provide support as needs arise with various projects, and engage with staff on a range of current social, economic, programmatic, communications and political topics that impact our conservation work.

Applications will be open for the fellows program this spring. While many fellows have a college major in an environmental discipline, students may be in a wide range of programs. Students interested in applying can email Minna Murphy at

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.