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2021 CLIMAS E&S Graduate Fellows | CLIMAS

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2021 CLIMAS E&S Graduate Fellows

2021 CLIMAS E&S Graduate Fellows

The 2021 E&S Fellows shared reflections on their experience on the CLIMAS blog, and in a recap podcast hosted by Gigi Owen.

Lessons Learned as a CLIMAS Environment & Society Fellow - Lea Schram von Haupt

In my year as an Environment & Society Fellow with CLIMAS, I learned just as much about the research process and collaborative research as I did about my actual research topic. I learned that things almost never go as planned or according to schedule, and whatever your original vision for your research was will probably change and evolve into something different – and probably better.

Reflections: Exploring Karst Groundwater Vulnerability and Risks in Arizona in 2021 - Simone Williams

Groundwater is among the world’s most important natural resources. It provides drinking water to rural and urban communities, supports agriculture and industry, sustains wetland and riparian ecosystems, and maintains the flow of rivers and streams. In many places, groundwater resources are susceptible to risks of overuse and contamination. Its sustainable management is increasingly critical; especially in climate-sensitive geographic areas such as islands and arid lands. My main interest is in researching karst groundwater sustainability because aquifers storing groundwater in karst systems are commonly found throughout my home country, Jamaica, and other islands in the Caribbean. In Arizona, the major karst aquifer system is found in the north in the Coconino Plateau area; which includes the city of Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon region. The physical characteristics of karst groundwater systems make them highly susceptible to pollution and climatic influences. Geologic features of karst landscapes, such as sinkholes, act as quick pathways for pollutants to be transported to the aquifer, given that there are little or no soil layers to filter pollutants en route to the aquifer.

Reflections on 2021 as a CLIMAS Environment & Society Fellow - Moriah Bailey Stephenson

In late August of 2021, I called Rebecca Jim holding back tears. I had met Jim around 2013 when I was working with a coalition to raise awareness about tar sands extraction and to oppose the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. Jim is the director of Local Environmental Action Demanded (LEAD), and she has devoted much of her life to bringing attention to the Tar Creek Superfund Site and other environmental justice issues in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Jim’s work was inspiring and exciting to me, and from 2013 to the present, we maintained a relationship centered around our shared concern for environmental justice issues in Oklahoma. As I began my PhD program and envisioning my dissertation research project, I contacted Jim and asked her if there was some way my research could be useful to her and LEAD. She was excited about the possibility, and over time, we developed a collaborative research project focused on residents’ stories and experiences of water and work throughout processes of industrial development, environmental remediation, and ongoing environmental concerns around the Tar Creek Superfund Site.

Full versions of the blog posts at:

Listen to the podcast episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, the CLIMAS website, or wherever you listen to podcasts - details here:

The Environment & Society Fellowship was created in 2013 as a funding opportunity for graduate students to practice use-inspired research and science communication. The Fellowship supports projects that connect social or physical sciences, the environment, and decision-making