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CMU Student Receives National River Studies and Leadership Certificate

Graduates launch river careers in fisheries, climate resiliency and wilderness therapy

Colorado Mesa University is proud to announce that alum Amber Martin has been awarded the prestigious River Studies and Leadership Certificate by the River Management Society.  

Martin is one of nine recipients who have completed a unique profile of interdisciplinary coursework and a field-based practicum in river-related science, policy, conservation, education and recreation. This program provides the foundational knowledge and experience necessary to pursue careers in river-related fields. 

“We’re inspired by these graduates, whose dedication and passion carve a path towards sustainable stewardship and innovative leadership in river management,” says RMS Executive Director Risa Shimoda. “As veteran river professionals working in the private and public sectors transition into retirement, and rivers continue to grapple with escalating usage and climate change, these emerging professionals bring fresh perspectives and skills that are critical for the future health of our river systems.” 

Martin has already begun her career as the first Mental Health Resiliency Ranger at the Colorado National Monument. “The knowledge and experience I have gained about conservation work, climate change, environmental politics and policy, river culture and outdoor therapies truly cannot be matched,” says Martin. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of this incredible training program and know that I will use this knowledge throughout my career and personal river pursuits for the rest of my life.” 

The 2024 recipients of the River Studies and Leadership Certificate include: 

  • Colorado Mesa University (Colo.): Amber Martin 
  • Fort Lewis College (Colo.): Kennedy Perry 
  • Northeastern State University (Okla.): Austyn Rice and Leah Fletcher 
  • Northern Arizona University (Ariz.): Danielle Juarez and Macie Wagner 
  • Virginia Commonwealth University (Va.): Ella Buckwalter, Isabelle Pillow and Jennoa Fleming 

Many of these graduates have already launched river-related careers in positions such as fisheries technician, water quality lab technician, climate resiliency technician and mental health resiliency ranger. 

Students interested in enrolling in this program should reach out to the advisor at their school, or contact RMS at bekah(at) if no program has been established. A map of 14 participating institutions and advisors is available on the RSLC web page.

The River Management Society established the River Studies and Leadership Certificate in 2015 to underscore the multi-disciplinary nature of wise, holistic river management for students interested in river-related careers. For more information, contact Bekah Price at [email protected].


Written by Staff