LEAP Student Fellow Nathalie Sommer Wins P.E.O. Scholar Award

The roofline of Sterling Law Building with three brick chimneys of different sizes

The Law, Ethics & Animals Program (LEAP) at Yale Law School congratulates Nathalie Sommer, a Ph.D. student in the Yale School of the Environment and LEAP Student Fellow, on being one of 110 doctoral students in the U. S. and Canada selected to receive a $20,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. 

Nathalie Sommer
Nathalie Sommer

The P.E.O. Scholar Awards were established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university.  Scholar Awards recipients are a select group of women chosen for their high level of academic achievement and their potential for having a positive impact on society.

Sommer works with terrestrial arthropods to understand how evolutionary processes within food webs affect nutrient cycling under climate change. Her previous research has focused on how consistent individual differences in animal behavior (aka animal personality) drives trophic cascades. Sommer is broadly interested in the gamut of environmental ethics and implicit values in wildlife management. She holds bachelor's degrees in biology and environmental science from the College of William & Mary and an M.E.Sc. from the Yale School of the Environment.

In addition to being a LEAP Student Fellow, Sommer is a two-time LEAP Student Grant recipient, receiving the awards in both 2022 and 2021. Her projects with LEAP Student Fellow Kristy Ferraro focused on ethics, ecology, and the role of philosophy in conservation, including investigating the feasibility of a rights-based framework for conservation ethics, exploring how philosophers and conservation ecologists can collaborate to advance conservation ethics, and interrogating foundational ethical assumptions in conservation, e.g., that conservation should value groups and ecosystems above individual animals and that anthropomorphism has negative value in conservation science.

The P.E.O. Sisterhood is a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women.  There are approximately 6,000 local chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly a quarter of a million active members.

Founded in 2019, the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School is a multidisciplinary program dedicated to developing strategies to address industrialized animal cruelty and its impacts on the living world, and to drawing attention to the deep questions of conscience and law raised by humanity’s treatment of animals.