International and Environmental Influencer: Sierra Gladfelter

Solution seeker

In the Himilayas, Sierra Gladfelter, CLA ’12, saw how climate change is affecting daily life in rural villages—in terms of both flooding and water scarcity, due to erratic precipitation and decreasing snowpack. Not to mention how the region’s poor economy limits its ability to adapt.


It’s inspiring to see ... all the work I’ve done in Nepal and in India how some small-scale interventions to help people cope with climate change are really having tangible impacts on people’s lives.

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s coal country ... I observed water sources severely impacted by industry, particularly in economically disadvantaged regions. My experiences have grounded me in the realities that a lot of people live with. Whether they are a coal miner in Pennsylvania, or a farmer in Nepal, those who are 3rd or 4th generation in these roles often don’t have a lot of options.

Right now ... I am working for the University of Virginia’s Institute for Engagement and Negotiation, supporting Virginia’s coastal communities in adapting to sea level rise and other storm hazards. Many of the challenges I’ve witnessed around the world play out in neighborhoods and towns facing climate change here in the U.S.

Thanks to Temple ... I was fundamentally moved by what I saw during my travels. I owe a lot to Temple and my faculty mentors for helping me secure the fellowships that gave me that global perspective.

—By Kyle Bagenstone, KLN ’11

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