Four Years Later: A Profile on 2017 Environmentalist of the Year Junet Bedayn

The Environmentalist of the Year Scholarship, administered by SYRCL, is awarded annually to a local graduating high school senior who has demonstrated a commitment to the environment. This March, we caught up with 2017 scholarship awardee, Junet Bedayn, to see how this award has supported her educational journey in the environmental field.

“In all the chaos and confusion that 2020 brought, I’ve been lucky enough to thoroughly enjoy my various plan B’s,” Junet stated when recounting the past year living through the COVID-19 pandemic. She was studying political humanities at Sciences Po in France, a prestigious international university, when her plans were interrupted by COVID-19’s rapid spread around the world. Luckily, she was able to return to her family home in Grass Valley where she finished the spring semester online “in the warm company” of her mom and a few friends.

After her virtual school experience in the spring, Junet decided to take some time off from school to put her education and drive for the environment to work. Her determination to advocate for the environment took her to places near and far. Junet spent her summer leading the non-profit, Echo Lakes Environment Fund, before working with NextGen America as a political field organizer for the Biden campaign. After the campaign ended, she began volunteering for a migrant shelter in Tabasco, Mexico, called La 72.

This fall Junet will be back stateside, continuing her education at Columbia University in New York where she’ll be studying education policy. Junet left us with these parting thoughts on the effect the scholarship has had on her life: “I’m so thankful to the SYRCL community for supporting my studies — both in the classroom, and out in the world. It’s truly a joy to feel the embrace of my community wherever I may be on this planet.”

We continue to be impressed with the work our scholarship awardees have done as environmentalists and activists. Since 2002, nineteen $4,000 scholarships have been awarded to local students and it would not be possible without SYRCL’s annual Quiz Night fundraiser. 

This year we’ve pivoted the event to a virtual platform where you can play with your friends from the comfort of your home. You can find out more about the event here, or register by clicking the button below.

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