Aliette Frank

Current affiliation:
The Evergreen State College

Aliette is an author and an environmental educator. The nature of her research is communicating science about global change for community literacy.

I have conducted studies on issues such as glacier change, ecotourism, endangered species conservation, and science and storytelling. Publications I have written for include, for example, The New York Times, National Geographic News, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic World, Applied Environmental Education & Communication, and National Wildlife, and for organizations such as The McKenzie Group, Inc., The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Civil Military Alliance to Combat HIV and AIDS, Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, and university presses.

In sum, my scholarship seeks to negotiate the best of both scientific and non-scientific knowledge for sustainability planning.

When I was first named as a Trudeau Doctoral Scholar, my plan was going to research sustainability in my home city and in various locations abroad. Within a matter of months of starting my research, however, I quickly learned that I needed a shift of focus; to ever ask anyone to consider me as an expert, let alone a leader on issues of sustainability, I had to learn what it meant to become sustainable myself. My involvement with the Trudeau Foundation was pivotal in even attempting this challenge. My experience as a Trudeau Doctoral Scholar was thus an experience as much about researching sustainability “out there,” as it was about learning what sustainability meant to me on a personal level. 

The Foundation provided me with far beyond what reads on this website. My greatest lessons, to my surprise, came not in what had initially drawn me to apply for the Doctoral Scholarship. It was through late-night phone calls about health matters with other Scholars, hand-written letters about poetry from Fellows, emails sending me happy birthday wishes and “We’d love to see your wedding pictures” from Staff, that I learned most about sustainability. The members of the Trudeau Foundation always seemed open to possibilities, no matter how different they may have been. Having an environment in which people openly receive different ways of knowing, regardless of how drastically these ways of knowing may diverge from others’ personal perspectives, is a true gem. 

In sum, my scholarship was so much more than what I could possibly write in a dissertation or speak about as a Scholar. My hope now, thanks to the experience of a Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship, is to help others find what sustainability—whatever that may be— means to them.