Alumni Spotlight: Diani Taylor

Diani Taylor Eckerson          
Landscape and Livelihood ‘11
Hometown: Olympia, Washington

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Why did you choose to do a field program with SVC? I was looking for something that would be physically and mentally challenging in the outdoors, something outside of my comfort zone, and Landscape and Livelihood fit the bill perfectly.

One of your greatest takeaways from the program: I came away from the program with a much deeper appreciation for the importance of a community - its people, their beliefs, and economic drivers- in addressing local environmental challenges.

One of your fondest memories from your time in the Swan: The 10-day backpacking trip stands out most to me. I will never forget sleeping under the stars at the top of Lion Creek Pass or looking out onto unending wilderness. I also made really wonderful connections with my fellow students on the trip.

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What are you up to now (professionally and/or personally)? I am General Counsel at Taylor Shellfish Farms, my family business. Prior to this position I worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as the National Ocean Council Law Clerk and at Plauche & Carr, an environmental and land use law firm. I’m also a new Trustee at The Nature Conservancy in Washington. And a new mom! – my daughter is 9 months old now.

How did participating in our program help you get there? I learned a lot about environmental policy in the program. It incited my passion to work on the complex environmental challenges communities face. I was determined to bring what I learned back to my family business, Taylor Shellfish Farms, especially as our company faces major challenges associated with water quality degradation and ocean acidification.

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Any advice for current students with similar academic and career goals? Don’t be afraid to take unorthodox or personally challenging opportunities! I have found a lot of value in working with people with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives on different sides of issues. I’ve also tried to focus on enhancing the skills I need to do the work I’m passionate about, planning for my highest goals rather than just looking for the next or most obvious opportunity. This focus has led me to many invaluable experiences.

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