Champlain Student Receives College Women’s Leadership Honors – Rebecca Carlson ‘14 cited for social activism leadership in environmental policies

By Kate Young ’14 / Champlain News

BURLINGTON, Vt — Champlain College student Rebecca Carlson ’14, has been selected to receive an honorable mention for the College Women’s Leadership Award, a national award for social activism and political engagement.

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The award recognizes young women from all over the country who exhibit outstanding leadership skills as well as a commitment to social activism or political engagement. Those selected represent a whole variety of political affiliations, social causes and academic institutions across the country.

Carlson, originally from East Hanover, NJ, is majoring in Environmental Policy and minoring in Business Administration at Champlain College. She is president of the College’s environmental club and works for Sustain Champlain.

Earlier this year, she led a group of faculty, staff, and students in attempts to achieve fair trade designation for Champlain. In addition, Carlson is working to develop a new club on campus that combines outings, such as camping, hiking, kayaking, etc., with educational experiences like wilderness first aid and volunteer options like trail maintenance.  She is an active member of the rock climbing club, was a Peer Advisor for a year, and will be an Orientation Leader this fall.

This spring, Carlson began interning with Vermont Caribbean Institute. She helped the organization in its efforts to strengthen communities in the Caribbean through sustainable practices and community engagement, following many examples evident in Vermont. She plans to continue as an intern with VCI in the fall.

This summer, Carlson is in Costa Rica, interning with the Neotropica Foundation. She is conducting a documentary-style video exemplifying the work of Neotropica, as well as working hands-on with its projects. Thus far, she has been able to help with environmental education in rural schools, mangrove restoration (planting mangrove seedlings, or, as she says, getting very muddy), participating in rural tourism projects to help empower the local communities to make sustainable livelihoods, and spreading the word about conservation (specifically in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, because it is arguably the most biodiverse area on the planet and contains 5 percent of the world´s species).

Carlson adds that in her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding and traveling. When her summer internship ends, she plans to backpack in Central America until school begins in late August.

“The Future of Politics and Social Change: Young Leaders to Watch,” by Sugati Publications, offers a compilation featuring the recipients and honorable mentions of the College Women’s Leadership Award. They are recognized in the book as “young women to watch in the future.” The author of the book, Terri Spahr Nelson, noted that the women “exemplify the passion and characteristics of emerging leaders who are making a difference in our world.  These are some truly noteworthy young women who will lead us into the future.”

The booklet was recently published online and is available to the public at no cost at

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