About the Program

The UTSA Jefferson Scholars Program is dedicated to mentoring and training undergraduate students who aspire to be leaders in environmental science and ecology. The program provides interdisciplinary support for students through a variety of research, writing, and science communication activities that develop students' ability to communicate their expertise to range of audiences, via a range of media.

As a Jefferson Scholar, students have the opportunity to work alongside experts in communication, education, and environmental science. The program provides interdisciplinary training in research, writing, and science communication to develop professional and leadership skills.

Jefferson Scholars are nominated by professors in their field to work alongside researchers from UTSA departments of Integrative Biology, English, and Education Leadership and Policy Studies, as well as government and industry leaders from a variety of environmental and ecological fields.

The UTSA Jefferson Scholars Program is administered through the College of Sciences Department of Integrative Biology, with funding provided by the USDA HSI Grant Program.

About Cheryl Jefferson

Cheryl Jefferson

Cheryl Jefferson, Ph.D.

Former Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives Director, USDA Forest Service

Dr. Jefferson's motto is "don't be a closed book, share the knowledge." She began her federal public service with the United States Department of Labor facilitating the development of apprenticeship and training programs. She later joined the USDA Forest Service Research and Development branch where she has served at various levels in the agency including providing leadership and oversight for the Southern Research Station's Public Affairs, Internal and External Communications, Partnership Program, Grants and Agreements Program, Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, Environmental Literacy Program, and Strategic Initiatives.She has also served as Acting Deputy Director for the National Partnership Office in Washington, DC and as an Acting Senior Staff Assistant to the Deputy Chief and Associate Deputy Chiefs for USDA Forest Service Research and Development.

Dr. Jefferson is an award winning communications and partnership professional. She was recently recognized as a Technology All Star at the 22nd Women of Color STEM Conference. She recently retired from federal service after more than 38 years.

As strong believer in "paying it forward," she served as a mentor to employees, a senior leader developmental coach, and was a member of the team which established the USDA Forest Service Eastern Middle Leader Program for the Agency.