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Leigh Shemitz


Leigh Shemitz is the President of SoundWaters, where her responsibilities include setting strategic direction, developing programs, creating partnerships, overseeing operations, and managing the SoundWaters staff and budget. Dr. Shemitz’s extensive background in environmental science provides enormous depth and breadth, as she helps SoundWaters fulfill its mission to educate children and adults about Long Island Sound and the human impact on the environment.

Dr. Shemitz currently serves on two local Boards: the Stamford Environmental Protection Board (since 2007) and the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens (since 2016). She also serves as an emeritus Board member of the New Haven Urban Resource Initiative. In 2005 and 2006, concurrent with her position at SoundWaters, she was a research affiliate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Before joining SoundWaters, Dr. Shemitz served as a lecturer at Yale in 2004, researching the connection between the environment and human well-being. She worked as an environmental health researcher at Yale (1999 to 2004), investigating air pollution in urban areas. Prior to that, she served as the Director of the Yale Urban Resources Initiative and served in the Peace Corps as a forester in Mali, West Africa.

Dr. Shemitz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and literature from Harvard University, a Master’s degree in forest science from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in environmental health, also from Yale University. Dr Shemitz has studied non-profit management at the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education: Strategic Perspectives on Nonprofit Management. Under her leadership, SoundWaters has expanded their outreach and been the recipient of numerous awards for their work in protecting Long Island Sound through education. Dr. Shemitz presents at many conferences and gatherings, including the Yale Environmental Sustainability Summit, 11 Hour Racing and the Long Island Sound Study.