Taylor Hopkins, Willy Pevec, Dana Pflughoeft and Carly Thompson are the 2022-2024 cohort of Wyss Conservation Scholars at the University of Michigan. The students were selected from the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) and the Law School in recognition of their future leadership in nonprofit and public sector conservation in the United States.
These students continue in the tradition of Michigan alumni working in leadership positions in NGOs and government in places like Denver, Bozeman, Portland and San Francisco along with Washington, D.C.-based congressional and NGO staff who focus on land conservation. Since 2007, the Wyss Foundation has generously provided SEAS with more than $3 million to recognize and support 43 graduate student scholars.
Hopkins is a second-year Law School student who received her BA in law, history and society from Vanderbilt University. Hopkins has worked for Save the Sound, a nonprofit focused on the protection of Long Island Sound, and Congressman Tim Ryan. She serves as the co-chair of the U-M Environmental Law Society, executive editor of the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law and treasurer of the Native American Law Students Association. She expects her career to focus on public interest environmental law, with a focus on wildlife conservation, ecosystem resilience and public lands protection.
Pevec, a SEAS Environmental Policy and Planning student, has an undergraduate degree in environmental engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has more than six years’ experience as a consulting engineer working on wastewater treatment systems, renewable energy and biofuels projects. He came to believe that dealing with problems at the end of the pipeline neglected the more important work of mitigating stressors upstream. So, Pevec came to Michigan to shift his career toward biodiversity protection and public lands policy, He intends to leverage his analytic skills and project management experience into a career in federal government or in nationally oriented NGOs.
Pflughoeft is a Behavior, Education and Communication student at SEAS. Having grown up in northern Michigan, she is focused on conservation issues in the Great Lakes region. She graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a degree in environmental studies and political science. Internships with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails organization reinforced her interests in conservation. She expects her future career to lie in a regional conservancy or other conservation organization, strengthening the bonds between people and conservation land in northern Michigan and elsewhere, while building community and resilience around such landscapes.
Thompson, an Ecosystem Science and Management student at SEAS, has a BA in political science and French from the University of California, Davis. After several years in the private sector, she refocused on natural resource management and conservation, most recently working for three years as a program coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), a grant-making NGO aimed at conservation domestically and internationally (and led by a SEAS alumnus). Her recent work focused on WCN’s California Wildlife Program, and how it can be expanded into four Western states. She is interested in a career in wildlife conservation and the management of lands that can facilitate restoration of biodiversity and threatened species.
The Wyss Scholars are advised by SEAS Professor Steven Yaffee.