Introducing the RYN Fellowship

Hurricane Ian left a swath of destruction in Southwest Florida, demolishing Fort Myers and the surrounding region. Images and videos taken during and after the storm show flooded streets, acres of empty land where homes used to be, and washed-out highways.

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Hurricane Ian left a swath of destruction in Southwest Florida, demolishing Fort Myers and the surrounding region. Images and videos taken during and after the storm show flooded streets, acres of empty land where homes used to be, and washed-out highways. Haunting images like these have brought many people to ask how communities can rebuild in a way that will withstand natural disasters. A critical step towards building a more resilient community is grassroots organization and action. Real change can come from the involvement of everyday individuals who want to make a difference. As an organization that believes in and advocates for a more resilient future, the Resilience Youth Network team felt called to lead the charge in educating and inspiring young leaders interested in climate adaptation solutions. We asked ourselves: what can we do to develop the next generation of leaders in climate resilience?

The result was the RYN Fellowship Program – a weekly virtual program that is preparing young people to become climate resilience advocates in their communities. The program consists of three modules: climate change and its effects, climate resilience solutions, and advocacy skills. On September 14th, 2022, the inaugural fellowship program launched. The fellowship cohort consists of eleven students from numerous countries and a variety of academic backgrounds, ranging from current high school students to recent college graduates. The fellows will have the opportunity to interact with experts in various fields related to climate change, including engineers, scientists, and community leaders. Throughout the course of the program, the fellows will work to complete locally applicable projects inspired by the weekly sessions. The first three sessions have discussed the concept of resilience and the basic mechanics of climate change. Fellow Cyril Prince writes that 

“With my experience in the RYN fellowship, I have been able to bring my voice to the discussion on climate change. I think that by working in small groups and learning through discussion, I have broadened my perspectives. This is not only with climate change but also on how resilience can be present in all parts of its response. I love learning from the other fellows and being in an environment with people from all walks of life.”

I am thrilled that we have launched this program, and would like to thank the Fellowship team, consisting of Annabel Vasquez, Lamis Amer, Ben Norrito, and Samantha Cristol. Their effort over the past 6 months has been critical to the success of this endeavor. If you are interested in learning more about our program or want to support our work, please feel free to contact us at

[email protected]

 

Alec Rodriguez, EIT, CFM

Interim Chair

Resilience Youth Network

Writer: Alec Rodriguez
Alec Rodriguez, EIT, CFM
Co-Founder, Operations Chair
(he/him)

Alec Rodriguez is a water resources engineer at Atkins in Denver Colorado. At Atkins, Alec works on water resources, climate resilience, and building science projects. Alec is from Miami, Florida, where he attended the University of Miami and received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a Minor in Climate Science and Policy. Alec’s passion for climate change and resilience began in Miami after seeing sunny day floods and has grown after seeing winter wildfires in Colorado.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alec-rodriguez-e-i-16a03aa8/

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