ESPP Student Goes to Washington
Contact: Jessica A. Knoblauch, News Writer for Environmental Science and Policy Program: (517) 432-3823 or firstname.lastname@example.org
February 16, 2007
the best way to set up and evaluate an interdisciplinary research
program that helps society adapt to the impacts of climate variability
and change? That was the question put forth by the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the National Research Council
(NRC) recently. Rachael Shwom, a Sociology Ph.D. student with a
specialization in the Environmental Science and Policy Program helped
answer this question during a ten-week fellowship at the NRC.
In response to the NOAA's question, the NRC convened a panel of scientists to help identify what the NOAA should be researching and how they should set up and evaluate a research program. The advisory panel decided to hold a workshop featuring climate change scientists; social scientists who study how to make climate change science useful to various decision-makers; and the decision-makers who are impacted by climate change. "With changing climate patterns there are groups of people who face new challenges like farmers dependent on a certain amount of rain or those who live on the coasts and may be impacted by rising sea levels. NOAA wanted some ideas on how to set up a research program that could help identify groups that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and understand the ways they use climate information in decision-making. They wanted to fund research that is very applicable and helps NOAA meet its mission of serving the public," says Shwom.
As part of her fellowship duties, Shwom worked with NRC program officer Paul Stern and panel chair Helen Ingram in putting together an agenda for the workshop. Shwom was responsible for finding speakers and collecting previous research done on how people use or don't use climate information in decision-making. "The workshop went great and we had some really informative scientists and decision-makers there talking about different ways climate change research can be made more helpful to all kinds of decision-makers," says Shwom.
Shwom will be applying what she learned as she assists with the Climate Change Symposium held on the MSU campus on March 15th and 16th, 2007. This symposium will help to identify the kinds of research that needs to be done and the best ways to provide the results so they are useful as possible to Michigan's decision makers.
Shwom says she took the fellowship because the topic of climate change and the human dimension of it greatly interested her and she wanted to understand more about the policy aspects. "It was a great opportunity to get connected to policy makers and meet other scientists in the field," says Shwom. "I also met a lot of great people, including the other fellows from all fields of science. I highly recommend it."
The Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program within the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academies (of which NRC is a part of) is designed to engage graduate science, engineering, medical, veterinary, business, and law students in the analysis that informs the creation of science and technology policy and to familiarize them with the interactions of science, technology, and government. It is offered three times a year and is funded by the NRC.
If you are a graduate student interested in applying for the fellowship you can find more information at http://www7.nationalacademies.org/policyfellows/ or feel free to write Rachael with any questions at email@example.com.