Climate change is affecting farmers around the world, but governments can help them to adapt while also reducing poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, says Sabrina Rose, F21—and there’s no time to waste. “The challenges are already here,” she says. “And they are going to get even bigger in the future.”
Rose is ready to address those challenges, thanks to skills she learned while earning a master’s degree in law and diplomacy at Fletcher. After graduation, she’s joining the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), an intergovernmental effort that brings together some of the world’s best researchers to promote climate-smart agricultural practices.
“I’m so excited about it because it builds directly on what I learned at Fletcher,” she says. “I came to Fletcher to pivot to climate and agriculture in the developing country context, and that’s exactly the work CCAFS does.”
As an undergraduate, Rose studied systems engineering with a focus on environmental issues, and her interest in international development was sparked by a summer program in Ghana. After graduating, she worked in climate change consulting at ICF for five years in Washington, D.C., including on projects for USAID. She realized she wanted a stronger background in international development and environmental policy, and her mentor at ICF connected her with Fletcher alumni.
“Fletcher’s curriculum married the two, and that’s what attracted me to the program,” she says.
From the moment she enrolled, Rose started looking for research opportunities and joined a variety of extracurricular activities in addition to her rigorous coursework.
She worked at the Climate Policy Lab under Friedman School Associate Professor Timothy Griffin, examining socioeconomic and climate impacts of natural farming, a practice that doesn’t use chemicals and promotes crop diversification, in southern India. She also worked with Fletcher Professor of Development Economics Jenny Aker examining the use of demilunes, a rainwater harvesting technique, in Niger. This research analyzed how interventions such as cash transfers or trainings affected farmers’ adoption of demilunes.
“Fletcher has given me the tools to address complex problems, ask the right questions, and use my voice for meaningful change in climate change and agriculture,” she says. “Professionally and personally, this has been a growth experience for me.”
Outside of class, Rose served as co-president of the Africana Club, which brings together international students, returned Peace Corps volunteers, and others interested in learning more about the continent. She also joined the Fletcher Christian Fellowship, which has supported her through the challenges of the last two years.
As a Black student, Rose wanted to increase the opportunities for other students of color to join Fletcher, so she reached out to Laurie Hurley, associate dean of admissions and student affairs, to plan a panel for prospective students to learn about the experiences of Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented students.
“Being able to create events that I know serve the community is really exciting. In planning those events, I was able to find my voice and become more confident,” she says. “I’m just so grateful for the time I’ve had at Fletcher.”