Walker Coleman ’23 Awarded Distinguished Fellowship to Global Crop Diversity Trust

head and shoulder image of Rhodes College student Walker Coleman

Walker Coleman, a senior international studies and art history double major from Cincinnati, OH, has been awarded The Steve and Riea Lainoff Crop Trust Fellowship in Honor of Cary Fowler ’71. The fellowship is made possible through the generosity of Steve and Riea Lainoff, parents of Rhodes graduates Brian Lainoff ’11 and Mark Lainoff ’15.

Coleman is interested in environmental security issues surrounding food and geopolitics and will join the communications and partnerships teams of the Global Crop Diversity Trust in Bonn, Germany, in August 2023.

The 12-month fellowship provides the opportunity for a recent graduate to develop an understanding of the Crop Trust’s work and the issues associated with agricultural biodiversity conservation. Previous fellows have assisted in planning conferences and events, developing communications materials, and even accompanying deposits to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

As a fellow, Coleman will be responsible for preparing communications materials, conducting research on donors and funding opportunities, helping with administrative meetings, and pitching in wherever it’s needed.

“Rhodes, through wonderful professional opportunities and tremendous faculty mentorship, has fully prepared me to step into the fellowship position at the Crop Trust. Dr. Jennifer Sciubba’s course on ecopolitics transformed an interest in environmental policy into a potential career path, while my other courses in international studies and art history expanded my mind and pushed me to become a more critical thinker and effective writer.”

In 2022, Coleman was awarded funds through Rhodes’ Mertie Buckman International Internship to pursue an internship in Berlin, Germany. There, he worked for Climate Analytics on research projects related to climate science and policy. Locally, he has worked as a food fellow for Memphis Tilth as part of Rhodes’ Summer Service Fellowship.

On campus, Coleman is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, president of the Fencing Club, and a Mike Curb Institute for Music Fellow. He hosts the weekly radio show Near and Far, contributes articles and artwork to the Curb art zine, Dredge, and enjoys DJ'ing for his friends.

After completing the fellowship at the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Walker plans to travel Europe before returning to the United States and seeking a job in global environmental affairs.