Aliette Frank

Current affiliation:
The Evergreen State College

Aliette is an author and an environmental educator. The nature of her research is communicating science about global change for community literacy.

Writer, illustrator, and yoga teacher, 2005 Trudeau scholar Aliette Frank explores sustainable living created by the best of scientific and storied knowledge. With publications for The National Geographic Society, National Wildlife, The New York Times, and National Science Foundation projects, Frank has covered issues ranging from mountain gorilla conservation in Africa to glacial research in the Arctic. She is currently a Member of the Faculty at the Evergreen State College.

When I was first named as a Trudeau Doctoral Scholar, my plan was going to research sustainability in my home city and in various locations abroad. Within a matter of months of starting my research, however, I quickly learned that I needed a shift of focus; to ever ask anyone to consider me as an expert, let alone a leader on issues of sustainability, I had to learn what it meant to become sustainable myself. My involvement with the Trudeau Foundation was pivotal in even attempting this challenge. My experience as a Trudeau Doctoral Scholar was thus an experience as much about researching sustainability “out there,” as it was about learning what sustainability meant to me on a personal level. 

The Foundation provided me with far beyond what reads on this website. My greatest lessons, to my surprise, came not in what had initially drawn me to apply for the Doctoral Scholarship. It was through late-night phone calls about health matters with other Scholars, hand-written letters about poetry from Fellows, emails sending me happy birthday wishes and “We’d love to see your wedding pictures” from Staff, that I learned most about sustainability. The members of the Trudeau Foundation always seemed open to possibilities, no matter how different they may have been. Having an environment in which people openly receive different ways of knowing, regardless of how drastically these ways of knowing may diverge from others’ personal perspectives, is a true gem. 

In sum, my scholarship was so much more than what I could possibly write in a dissertation or speak about as a Scholar. My hope now, thanks to the experience of a Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship, is to help others find what sustainability—whatever that may be— means to them.