The Mildred Church Dandridge Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a graduating seniors who demonstrates exceptional leadership in initiating environmental action or change in the community while a School of Environmental Leadership student. Students whose work and achievements support these endeavors uphold the legacy of Mildred Church Dandridge.

The scholarship was renamed the Mildred Church Dandridge Memorial Scholarship in 2016 in honor of her passing. She was an instrumental team member in the founding of The School of Environmental Leadership in 2011.


Seniors interested in applying to the Mildred Church Dandridge Memorial Scholarship can review the guidelines and application here. The deadline for applications for The Class of 2024 is April 30th, 2024 at 11:59pm. Please send your completed application to

**Please note the MCD Memorial Scholarship Committee reviews applications. The Chair of the Committee is Robin Dandridge, one of Mildred’s daughters. Additionally, the Committee includes SEL Board Members who do not have a direct connection to the senior class. No SEI or SEL staff members are a part of the Committee.

Scholarship Donations

The School of Environmental Leadership appreciates all donations to help continue the legacy of Mildred Church Dandridge. Donations to this scholarship are tax deductible.You can make a donation here.

Previous Recipients

Class of 2022: En-Ya Zhang

Class of 2021: Lauren Pettijohn

Class of 2020: Molly Madden & Kai Nittenberg

Class of 2019: Ana Ostrovsky

Class of 2018: Paloma Siegel

Class of 2017: Erin Charlton

In Memoriam: Mildred Church Dandridge

We are honored to remember and pay tribute to the life of one of our most cherished staff members, Mildred Church Dandridge. Mildred was part of The SEL since its inception in 2011. In her loving memory, we award this scholarship to a student who embodies environmental leadership and love for community engagement.

Mildred was fundamental to the formation of SEI and helped write one of the first SEI grants in 1999. She acted as SEI’s Education Program Director until 2007, working with countless schools and engaging youth in their communities. She worked diligently to build SEI programs, where she inspired elementary through high school students to be part of the climate solution. She taught high school students to assess small business energy use and developed a year-long suite of curriculum scaffolding climate instruction for 4th and 5th graders. She worked with countless districts to use their facilities as a teaching tool, helping reduce energy use in schools through student and staff behavior change. Though she “retired” in 2007, she still remained a member of the SEI, ran our Building Operators Certification Program and helped launch The SEL. Mildred wrote key curriculum for both SEI and The SEL, and assisted in laying the foundation for curriculum to receive University of California A-G approval for The SEL, as well as obtaining college credit for the courses. Throughout these contributions, Mildred sought ways to help train young people to take a clearly defined environmental leadership role in their communities.

In addition to all of her accomplishments at SEI and The SEL, Mildred was an integral part of her community. She volunteered her time to start Odyssey of the Mind at the former Dixie School District (now Miller Creek District) in San Rafael, as well as the innovative GATE program that focused on creative math projects. She was the treasurer of the East Bay Peace Action Network and served on committees at the El Cerrito Library and El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee. Before she joined the SEI and The SEL team, she was the Director of Academic Advising and an adjunct faculty member at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York. She helped to found The Sage Colleges Women’s Center, where she empowered young women to have the confidence to take on anything they wanted in their lives and careers – to be feminists. Mildred believed by developing an environmental leadership role, young people have the potential to change the way they think about themselves and the environment. It was all of these accomplishments and more that led to Mildred being honored with the Purpose Prize Fellowship in 2007 and becoming a multiyear awardee of the YWCA Woman of the Year Award.

As instrumental as Mildred was in establishing SEI and The SEL, it is her heart of gold and vibrant smile that we will miss the most. Mildred put her voice and action behind her values and gave 200% to these organizations. Many of us at The SEL have worked alongside Mildred for years and miss her immensely.