Immersion Distinguished Scholar Workshop: Actionable Science

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Time of Event: 
Monday, April 23, 2018 - 09:00 to Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 17:00


"Postdoctoral Fellow Immersion"

Kristin Baja

Climate Resilience Officer, Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Kristin Baja is USDN's first Climate Resilience Officer, responsible for helping cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation and building their capacity to take action. The majority of her time is spent supporting cities and facilitating deeper relationships between local governments and other stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to USDN, she served as the Climate and Resilience Planner with the City of Baltimore's Office of Sustainability where she led the city's climate adaptation and equity work. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan. In 2016, she was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.

Melissa A. Kenney

Associate Research Professor in Environmental Decision Analysis and Indicators, University of Maryland, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-Maryland. Affiliated with the Department of Geography.

Dr. Kenney’s research broadly addresses how to integrate both scientific knowledge and societal values into policy decision-making under uncertainty. Her research expertise includes conceptual modeling and decision structuring, indicators, systems analysis, multi-attribute methods, and evaluation of decision support to address environmental policy decisions. These methods have been applied to a range of topics including participatory global change indicators, setting environmental policy criteria, economic analyses for restoration alternatives assessment, expert elicitation, and value of information of indicators. Dr. Kenney was an AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow, focusing on stakeholder engaged research to create climate-resilient solutions in the U.S. and Chesapeake Bay region. She earned a Ph.D. from Duke University, focusing on water quality modeling and decision analysis.

Betsy Otto

Global Director, Water Program, World Resources Institute

Over the past several years at WRI, Betsy has led development of AqueductTM, a global water risk assessment and mapping tool to inform private and public sector investment and water management decisions. Betsy works with the Water Program team to develop and apply tools and information, and to engage business, NGOs and governments for positive change in managing water resources worldwide. Betsy also works with staff across WRI to incorporate water considerations and sustainable solutions for cities, energy, governance, finance, and climate adaptation purposes.

Betsy has over 20 years of experience working on water resource management, ecosystem protection, and urban water systems. Over the past two decades, she has worked to promote sound land and water planning and urban water infrastructure systems that incorporate upstream ecosystem services, green infrastructure designs in cities, and integrate drinking water, stormwater and wastewater management. Prior to joining WRI, Betsy developed successful clean water and water supply programs for American Rivers in Washington, DC, where she worked closely with mayors, utilities, federal agencies and Congress to promote smart water policies and drive public and private investment toward more sustainable water infrastructure solutions.

Betsy earned a Masters in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute, a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, and a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois. From 2006-2007, she was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where she studied international water management, urban infrastructure, and water and sanitation issues.

Astrid Caldas

Senior Climate Scientist

Climate & Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Dr. Caldas’ research focuses on climate change adaptation with practical policy implications for ecosystems, the economy, and society. She also works on policy related to climate change, natural resources management, conservation planning, socio-environmental synthesis, and climate communication.

Before joining UCS, Dr. Caldas was a Science & Technology Policy Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, a climate change and wildlife science fellow at the nonprofit conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, and a research scientist at the University of Maryland. Dr. Caldas has advised or consulted on projects with organizations including the Smithsonian Institution and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. She has a lifelong passion for butterflies and moths, which she has studied for many years. Dr. Caldas holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. In addition to a M.S. in entomology from the Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil, she earned an M.S. in environmental management from the University of Maryland University College.

Betsy Cody

Specialist in Natural Resources Policy (former position), Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Betsy has been with the Congressional Research Service since 1989, responding to Congressional research requests mostly relating to water resources and water policy. She has a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and Natural Resource Policy from the University of Washington.

Richard Pouyat

President, Ecological Society of America

Dr. Pouyat received his Ph.D in ecology from Rutgers University in 1992, and an M.S. in forest soils and B.S. in forest biology at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1983 and 1980, respectively. Dr. Pouyat was the National Program Lead for Air and Soil Quality Research for Research & Development at the USDA Forest Service in Washington D.C. He was recently on a detail to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and is currently president of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Dr. Pouyat is an original co-principal investigator of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, a longterm Ecological Research site funded by the National Science Foundation.

This is a closed meeting for a funded group of visiting scholars.

To learn more about the Immersion Program, click here.

Event type: 
Immersion Workshop
Event Attendance: 
Private Working Group
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