NCEL Staff Selected for Prestigious Schwarzman Scholars Program

December 20, 2023


Mississippi River

NCEL Point of Contact

Dylan McDowell
Executive Director


The hardest part of having an incredibly talented team is watching them pursue new opportunities in their career.  

I am thrilled to share that Angela Yuan, NCEL’s Project Manager for Sustainable Agriculture, has been selected as an international Schwarzman Scholar. Through this program, she will spend a year studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China alongside other global leaders and pursue a fully-funded Master’s of Global Affairs. Angela was one of 150 leaders chosen out of more than 4,200 applicants. 

Angela has been with NCEL for more than two years and throughout that time has been instrumental in expanding our work on sustainable agriculture and water quality. She has led our Mississippi River Legislative Caucus activities, which supports legislators in the 10-state river corridor working toward a healthier river ecosystem. In that role, she has highlighted lessons from across the country and integrated environmental justice issues into policy conversations.  

Angela has a natural talent for building relationships with people from very different backgrounds. From day one, she has been actively reaching out to new legislators and establishing organizational partnerships to strengthen our work. She has toured the halls of state capitols throughout the river region to engage legislators from both parties and led successful River Tours to help legislators witness sustainable solutions firsthand. 

Within NCEL, Angela has also demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She joined our staff DEI Committee shortly after starting, and has spent two years in the DEI Lead role. She has spearheaded efforts to learn from other organizations, develop new processes at our organization, establish a DEI newsletter, and develop roles and responsibilities for the committee. Angela’s work has helped our organization expand our commitment to DEI and ensure environmental justice is integral to our policy efforts. 

I am thrilled to see Angela be selected for this new opportunity, but will miss her determination, positive attitude, and incredible icebreakers during team meetings. 

Here is an update from Angela about her experience at NCEL and her next steps: 

I am immensely grateful for my time at NCEL contributing to environmental health and justice policy while fostering synergy between federal and state action. It has been a privilege and deeply inspiring to learn from such a passionate team, bipartisan legislators, and partners dedicated to advancing a clean and healthy environment for all.

Transitioning from NCEL to the Schwarzman Scholars Program is undeniably bittersweet. However, I am excited about the opportunity to immerse myself in a global network of leaders and delve deeper into international and multidisciplinary environmental solutions at Tsinghua University.

To the incredible NCEL team, thank you for being an integral part of this journey and for your support. As I embark on this new chapter, I carry with me NCEL’s values of sustainability, collaboration, and commitment to environmental justice.

We have shared a job posting to begin the process of filling Angela’s role. We are thrilled to know she will be with us until the Spring to help with the transition and to support state legislators working on sustainable solutions in the upcoming session. 

I and the full team wish Angela the best on this incredible opportunity and am very grateful for her leadership at the organization over the past two years.

Dylan McDowell

NCEL Executive Director